I’ve been making this recipe here at Chiot’s Run years, tweaking it here and there. I’m not sure where it came from originally, but it’s always a hit. Around the holidays I make up 5 or 6 batches to distribute to all the friendly folks that make our lives easier throughout the year; bank tellers, librarians, Post Office workers, UPS man, etc. Every year they’re super excited when Mr Chiots shows up with his basket. In fact, when we told them we were moving, every single one of them said, “Oh, we’re really going to miss your caramel corn at Christmas”. Perhaps some packages will be order.
MOLASSES CARAMEL CORN
1 cup packed organic dark brown sugar (make your own, here’s how)
1/2 cup organic corn syrup
1/3 cup organic pastured butter
1 tablespoon organic blackstrap molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
12 cups organic popcorn (preferably heirloom popcorn popped on the stove with ghee or coconut oil, but air popped will work)
Preheat oven to 250°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, not necessary but it sure makes cleanup easier.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, and molasses in a medium saucepan (don’t go small on this, the mixture foams up a bit when you mix in the baking soda/salt); bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Place popcorn in a large bowl; pour sugar mixture over popcorn in a steady stream, stirring to coat. If you don’t want the caramel topping to stick to the sides of the large bowl you can rub it with a little oil before adding the popcorn. I don’t because then I get to scrape out the caramel & eat it! Also when you stir to coat the caramel won’t cover the popcorn fully, this will happen during the baking/stirring time.
Spread popcorn mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Remove from oven; stir to break up any large clumps. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Note: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
*for additional flavors substitute rum flavoring, almond extract, or other extract in place of vanilla. Add nuts & other additions at 30 min of baking. Drizzle with chocolate after completely cooled.
I’ve often thought about swapping out the corn syrup in this recipe with maple syrup or honey, but I think the end result would suffer. From what I’ve read, the corn syrup keeps the caramel from crystallizing.
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Wow! It looks delicous! I’ve only ever used molasses for gingerbread men and it smelled so strong I didn’t taste it by itself. I do like to eat the raw dough….
You should try it by itself, it’s super healthy. Sometimes we drink warm milk at night that we steeped with cinnamon & vanilla and I’ll add a small spoonful of molasses. It’s full of iron and all kinds of other vitamins, minerals & antioxidants.
Yummm… looks & sounds divine!! I love molasses. I dont use it often but I always keep it on hand.
I’ll have to try this! Thanks!
I want to try this with sorghum molasses. YUM.
Swap out molasses for birch syrup. I make almost the same recipe with our birch syrup & it is delicious! If you haven’t tried birch syrup it has a fruity, citrus molasses flavour.
Susy, I have not been able to find organic corn syrup. Where do you get yours?
Wholesome Sweeteners has some. You can probably find it at your local health food store, if not here’s some on Amazon:
Wholesome Sweeteners, Inc., Organic Light Corn Syrup
There are also options to buy the bottles in multiples if you’re going to be making a lot of caramel corn.
I’m a chemist, and I’ve experimented some with alternate sugar caramels. I bet you could get good results with honey, although it might take some experimentation. Maple syrup is chemically more similar to table sugar, and would likely lead to more crystallization. Alternately, you could try using some brown rice syrup or malt syrup, which would be chemically similar to corn syrup, I think.
I usually make caramel corn with mostly dextrose (and molasses for flavor), which is definitely prone to crystallization, but it’s not a problem if you eat it promptly! So it depends what you’re looking for.
By the way, why do you bake it? Is that a way to avoid standing over the stove stirring the caramel?
You should try subbing molasses for the corn syrup too. My go-to caramel corn recipe calls for brown sugar and corn syrup, and I have swapped out the corn syrup for molasses completely, with great results. Better tasting, I think, than the original, and much healthier.