Deliciously spiced, this caramel corn also carries with it a hint of pumpkin. It’s perfect for an indoor movie night. Or because… Caramel corn.
I see you there looking at me with your judgy eyes. In your mind you’re all, pumpkin season is ovah, fool – Get with the cranberry program!
BUT I’M NOT READY!!
I’m not ready for Thanksgiving. Weren’t we eating frozen yogurt like, 2 seconds ago? Now it’s the holiday season. How the hell did that happen? Is the earth spinning out of control? I have been feeling a bit dizzy lately. It’s just… By my calculations it should be 6 months ago.
But it’s not.
And I’m not ready.
Shit, I haven’t lost the weight from LAST Thanksgiving. Now I have to stuff my face all over again till New Year’s!?
Someone tie a string around me and fasten it to a chair. I may just… Float away otherwise.
I suppose this pumpkin spice caramel corn won’t make things any easier. In fact, why don’t we add a weight to that chair? I may float away with it.
Caramel corn and I, we’re like frenemies. Would that be the proper term to describe it? I dunno.
For example, when our friendship works, it’s great – We’re cool peeps – But when caramel corn won’t work for me I feel that bitch has stabbed me in the back and wrote something scathing about me on her Facebook page.
Seriously… What a bitch.
I made this pumpkin spice caramel corn 6 times, because I wanted – no – needed to get it right. I became a bit obsessed. I ought to get that checked. For real, real.
Do you know how much soggy or part soggy popcorn I threw out?
I can’t even bring myself to talk about it.
These photos were attempt number 4, by the way.
But I got it right. I was using way too much of everything. The trick here was cutting the caramel by half and adding only a hint of pumpkin puree. I like to saturate my popcorn situation with caramel; I’m not going to lie.
I found that by adding half my usual caramel situation, the final result yielded a well-rounded caramel popcorn experience. You can taste caramel, you can surely taste the spice, that hint of pumpkin is killer and quite frankly ties this jammy together.
And most important – You can taste the popcorn.
And that’s key.
For those of us who want to hold on to pumpkin season with a Dr. Claw iron grip… This one’s for you.
- About 18-20 cups of popped popcorn (about ¾ cups unpopped)
- 1 cup unsalted peanuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- ¼ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 250° degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Pop popcorn into a very large, preferably stainless steel bowl and remove any unpopped kernels.
Make the caramel:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt and whisk until mostly combined. Bring this mixture to a boil without stirring and allow it to continue boiling for 5 minutes. Remove the caramel from heat and add the baking soda, spices, and vanilla extract. Be careful, it may spatter. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Pour half the caramel mixture over the popcorn (and peanuts if using), and stir with a rubber spatula several times. Pour remaining half of caramel and stir until evenly coated.
Spread the caramel corn onto your prepared cookie sheets and bake in the oven for about 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so with a pair of tongs.
Note: Your popcorn may be ready before the 40 minutes are up. At the 30 minute mark, test by removing a couple of caramel corn kernels, allowing them to come to room temperature. If they’re completely crispy, they’re ready; however, if they are mushy or have a bite to them, bake for 5-8 more minutes. Continue checking this way until your caramel corn has a crisp bite to it.
Remove baking sheets and place in a wire rack to cool completely before breaking apart.