Few foods stir up as many pleasant memories for me as caramel corn. In my mind, it is as much a part of Christmas as stockings. The sweet crunch of caramel corn brings back images of sitting around the living room putting lights on the tree and of gathering around while my dad read aloud the Christmas story.
Caramel corn is one of my favorite Christmas foods.
For years a jar of corn syrup sat in my cupboard for the sole purpose of making caramel corn. I don’t like using corn syrup, but giving up caramel corn was simply not an option. Then my friend Natalie shared a delightful discovery with me: you can substitute honey for corn syrup to make any recipe healthier! Voila.
My favorite caramel corn recipe was easily transformed into my favorite caramel corn recipe without corn syrup. Problem solved.
My favorite caramel corn, “healthified” just a little
Caramel Corn Recipe, without corn syrup
- 15-20 cups popcorn, lightly salted (popcorn is one of our favorite frugal snacks, so getting a good popcorn popper was totally worthwhile!)
- 1 cup sugar (either brown sugar* OR white sugar with added molasses, which is what I prefer so that I can make it more molassess-y)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp vanilla (want to make your own vanilla?)
- Preheat oven to 300. Lightly grease a 11×15 pan.
- Heat sugar, butter, honey, and salt until bubbly. (WAIT on the baking soda and vanilla!) Once the mixture starts to boil, turn to medium and cook for 5 min stirring. Do NOT stir. If it smells like its burning pick up the pot from the heat and roll it around a bit to cool.
- While waiting, mix the baking soda and vanilla.
- Remove from caramel mixture from heat and add soda & vanilla. Coat corn.
- Place in greased pan and bake for 15 minutes. Stir then bake 5 more minutes.
- Remove, cool slightly and remove from pan. Enjoy!
If you have leftovers, store tightly sealed to keep the crunchy caramely goodness from getting soft and sticky.
*Food rant: Have you noticed that brown sugar isn’t less processed sugar?! It’s just white sugar with molasses added that costs about twice as much as regular sugar!
Enjoy your caramel corn!
Beautiful bowls full of crunchy homemade caramel corn make a lovely addition to any holiday spread. Caramel corn also makes a yummy handmade Christmas gift. Just pack it into a canning jar, close the lid tightly, and cover the lid with beautiful holiday fabric.
So pop up some popcorn and make up a big batch of caramel corn.