Spiked Caramel Corn

You might have seen the big bowl of caramel corn in my previous Superbowl post and thought, ‘Omigoodness that looks amazing! Where can I get the recipe?’ Yes I know you were thinking that – it tasted more amazing than it looked. Well, fear not, for this post is all about caramel corn!

Did you know, that caramel corn made its first appearance in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair by two German brothers who would eventually become the founders of ‘Cracker Jack’s’? At that time the phrase, ‘cracker jack’ was actually a slang expression that meant ‘something very pleasing.’ The brothers created their ‘Candied Popcorn and Peanuts’ by covering popcorn and nuts with molasses. It soon became a hit and is forever memorialized in the famous ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ song that we all know and love.

My sophisticated take on Cracker Jack’s was the perfect sweet-salty treat to much on during the game – AND it was as easy as it was delicious! Boyf, who doesn’t even like popcorn, proclaimed that he would eat this caramel corn any and every time I make it. Score.

The recipe I used was adapted from Food & Wine (a favorite recipe hub of mine). I switched it up slightly by using rum instead of tequila for the ‘spike’ factor. My roommate had rum on-hand, and I wasn’t about to buy a bottle of tequila just for the tablespoon this recipe calls for! I also only made a half-recipe version because 16 cups of popcorn just seemed like a LOT more than I needed.

Spiked Caramel Corn

Recipe from Food & Wine

Ingredients

  • 16 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tequila

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250° and position racks in the upper and middle thirds. Toss the popcorn with the roasted peanuts in a large heatproof bowl.

In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar with the butter, agave nectar, corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Boil over moderate heat for 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Using a long spoon, stir in the baking soda and tequila; the syrup will foam. Immediately pour the hot syrup over the popcorn and peanuts and, using 2 spoons, toss to coat thoroughly.

Spread the popcorn on 2 nonstick baking sheets and bake for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally and switching the sheets halfway through, until golden and nearly dry. Turn off the oven, open the oven door completely and let the popcorn cool completely before serving.

Eat! Eat! Eat!

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