This Caramel Puff Corn is a crazy addictive snack, perfect for holiday gift-giving or game day snacking! It’s EASIER than caramel corn with all that sweet salty flavor.
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So I first tried Caramel Puff Corn last Christmas at a family gathering.
I mean, you see it on the buffet table, and you’re all like, “someone really took a shortcut with the caramel corn”, and frown disapprovingly, and then you taste it.
And then you taste it again and again and again and you carry the bowl off the table and find a corner to hide in and down the whole thing.
Because this Caramel Puff Corn is not a downgrade from your Christmas caramel corn. Dare I even say I like it a little better?
I can definitely see a few more variations of this stuff coming for holidays to come!
Why Caramel Puff Corn is better than Caramel Corn:
I mean, let’s get real I’m never going to turn down a bowl of caramel corn either but if I had to choose, I’d choose puff corn every time. The downside is I guess it’s not quite as healthy, since popcorn is a whole grain without other chemicals. But do you know anyone who eats caramel corn to be healthy?
Caramel Puff Corn is way easier to make because you take out the popping and the tedious act of sorting through the popped corn for all the kernels and half-popped, will-surely-mean-a-trip-to-the-dentist kernels.
Instead, you skip right to the caramel and are munching on your caramel popcorn in record time with much less fuss.
Also, the puff corn has a saltier flavor, which balances out the sweetness of the caramel in a way that regular air-popped corn does not. And since I love a sweet and salty combo, I’m all over this. (If you prefer a less salty flavor, you can definitely use regular air-popped popcorn, just be sure to remove all of the kernels).
With the crispy exterior and seriously melt in your mouth interior, it’s really a snack that can’t be beat.
Go make a big batch and hand it out as all of your Christmas gifts this year! Shopping, done. Winning at post-kids-bedtime snacks, check.
Tips for making this Caramel Puff Corn recipe:
- Keep your eyes on the gold. Once that sugar starts boiling, you’re going to want to watch it closely. It can easily burn if you’re not careful, so you’ll want to whisk steadily once it starts to simmer.
- Parchment, parchment, parchment. Parchment paper is not really necessary (it is), but it’s going to save you so much mess and unnecessary clean up. Trust me, no one wants to scrub a sheet pan full of dried on caramel.
- Bake and stir. The baking helps to set the caramel so that it is firm and crunchy. Stirring the popcorn helps to make sure that all pieces are evenly coated and that they all dry accordingly. The 15 minutes for stirring is flexible though, if you only stir it once or twice during the baking process you will be fine. The deeper your caramel puff corn layer, the more you should stir.
- Gather some friends around, because you’re not going to be happy with me if you eat the whole 10 cups all be yourself fresh out of the oven 😉
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Caramel Puff Corn
- 10 cups popcorn twists 175 grams (also called Puff Corn)
- 1 cup unsalted butter 225 grams
- 1 cup brown sugar packed, 155 grams
- 1/2 cup corn syrup 130 grams
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread popcorn twists over top. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and corn syrup over medium-high heat, whisking often, until it reaches a boil.
- Boil and stir 2 minutes, then add baking soda. It will foam up — continue cooking and whisking for 1-2 minutes until foam settles down slightly.
- Pour caramel over popcorn and stir to coat evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, let cool for 5-10 minutes and then break into smaller pieces as desired. Store in an air tight container or ziploc bag 1-2 weeks.
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