Caramel-Nut Popcorn Crunch Recipe

Yummy caramely-nutty popcorn is always a welcome treat. I know I love popcorn in its many dressings. And it is really easy to make your own treats for parties or anytime—plus a jar of homemade caramel corn would be an especially nice little holiday gift. 

The folks at the Popcorn Board, the non-profit organization funded by U.S. popcorn processors to raise awareness of popcorn as a versatile, whole-grain snack—are doing their job tempting me with messages to share about this crunchy snack. Following is a sweet and crunch recipe perfect for holiday snacks and throughout the year.

If you would like to check out another recipe and learn a little more about popcorn click here. And check out a snazzy slow-motion video of a kernel popping.

Keep in mind that popcorn is a whole grain and is also gluten-free and low in calories. Popcorn provides energy-producing complex carbohydrates and is a good source of fiber—and three cups of popcorn equals one serving from the grain group.

Popcorn kernels expand up to 40 times their original size. So 1 ounce, which is 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons of un-popped kernels will make 4 cups (1 quart) of popped popcorn. So depending on how large of a batch you might like to make, you can take it from there. And other nuts could be substituted if you prefer or, of course, omitted if anyone you know is allergic to them. 

Caramel-Nut Popcorn Crunch 

Makes about 20 pieces

10 cups freshly popped popcorn
2 cups whole almonds
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 225°F.

2. Spray a 15 x 10-inch baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

3. Mix popcorn and almonds in large bowl.

4. Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Over low heat, stir mixture until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil 5 minutes. 

5. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, almond extract and baking soda.

6. Pour over popcorn and almonds, immediately stirring gently to coat. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly. Bake for 1 hour in preheated oven. Cool completely.

7. Break into pieces and store in airtight container for up to about 2 weeks.

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.