Popcorn holds a special place in my heart. Growing up, movie nights at our house always included a massive bowl of my dad’s stove-popped corn. It was addictive and became a staple of weekends at home. A little oil, a little salt, and voila!
I have continued the tradition, making stove-popped corn before classes in college or for a quick snack after work. But the holiday season calls for something a little less…healthy. This December, I spent my days dreaming of massive reindeer-decorated tins of popcorn. The kind with the little compartments for caramel, cheddar, and butter (for the record, two cheddar kernels+one caramel kernel=golden combination). But alas, I work for a Jewish organization and no Christmas popcorn tins were gifted my way.
So when the Golden Globes rolled around last Sunday and it was time to brainstorm a party snack, I knew exactly what would satisfy: caramel sea salt popcorn. And satisfy it did.
1 bag of Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Air-Popped Popcorn (or use my stove-popped recipe)
1 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon of butter (salted or unsalted)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Divide popcorn between two 8×13 baking pans. It does not need to be flat or in a single layer. For a more intense caramel flavor, use half of the bag and only one pan.
Place brown sugar, whipping cream, and butter into a saucepan. Combine the ingredients over heat and bring to a boil. Allow ingredients to boil for about a minute while continuing to stir.
Remove caramel sauce from heat and pour over both pans of popcorn, spreading as evenly as possible.
Using a mixing spoon, stir the popcorn to ensure that the caramel is well distributed.
Place pans in oven for 5-6 minutes. Remove and stir popcorn once more. The caramel should have thinned a bit and will be bubbly. Place back into the oven for another 5-6 minutes.
Spread a few sheets of wax paper or parchment on the counter-top. After removing the popcorn from the oven, pour over the paper and spread out the popcorn into one layer for cooling. While the popcorn is still hot, shake sea salt over the top. Mix it up with different toppings – the one below includes cayenne pepper!
Let cool and enjoy!
*This recipe was adapted from Heavenly Homemakers.