Caramel Popcorn – The Perfect Halloween Treat by Amanda Angel

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The cool, crisp fall air mingles with the rich, decadent scents of stovetop popped popcorn and homemade caramel in your kitchen. You can smell it, can’t you? Now, get ready to taste it with this wonderful October treat! With all the candy with unknown ingredients flying around this time of year, help yourself and your family to a sweet treat you can feel good about!

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First, pop your popcorn. I am against microwave popcorn and opt for the stovetop method. (Read this to find out why.) I bought an old fashioned popcorn pot a while back with a handle that turns and keeps the kernels moving, but you can easily use a big pot with a lid, and just keep it shakin’!

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/-MxX8wfHhZQk/Ums1NsvBQpI/AAAAAAAAAVk/9vrzJCqPvrw/s144-c-o/PCB3.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104413851917705081151/PopcornBalls#5938899043081077394″ caption=”Light, Fluffy, and Scrumptious Popcorn! – Click to View” type=”image” alt=”PCB3.jpg” pe2_img_align=”right”]

Add 1/3 cup of coconut oil to the pan, and get it hot over medium-high. The coconut oil is a terrific option because it can withstand high heat and has a wonderful flavor. Even if you just pop the popcorn to eat for the snack, you won’t miss the butter if you use coconut oil!

Add 1 cup unpopped kernels to the 1/3 cup coconut oil, keep the lid on, and keep the kernels moving so that none stick and burn. You will hear one little baby pop, then another, then they pick up speed. Keep them going (it takes about 3 minutes for me) until the popping slows down or the pot gets full! Transfer the fluffy, hot popcorn to a separate bowl, and sprinkle about 1 tsp salt over it while still hot. I’m already excited for you to taste it, and you will not be able to stop yourself at this point!

[pe2-image src=”http://lh4.ggpht.com/-96fagiOg91Y/Ums1PIQ8n_I/AAAAAAAAAWA/Ybojt4jW-5s/s144-c-o/PCB7.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104413851917705081151/PopcornBalls#5938899067651006450″ caption=”Sift out unpopped kernels – Click to View” type=”image” alt=”PCB7.jpg” pe2_img_align=”right” ]

To remove the unpopped kernels, remove popcorn a handful at a time to another large bowl, allowing any seeds to filter through, leaving them in the bottom of the bowl.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh5.ggpht.com/-7zPehU8onCY/Ums1Nv0LsXI/AAAAAAAAAVc/Kj3-moJrgCY/s144-c-o/PCB2.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104413851917705081151/PopcornBalls#5938899043908039026″ caption=”Ingredients for Caramel” type=”image” alt=”PCB2.jpg” pe2_img_align=”left” ]

Repeat the process for the second cup of popcorn kernels.

Now, time for the caramel…in a large saucepan, drop the butter, condensed milk, brown sugar, and honey.

Crank the heat up to medium and stir until it reaches a boil. Stir continually and allow to boil for 2 minutes.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/-ldlo0cgcgwU/Ums1Ob3afLI/AAAAAAAAAVw/aW0BOxO4Yw4/s144-c-o/PCB4.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104413851917705081151/PopcornBalls#5938899055732751538″ caption=”The Caramel – Click to View” type=”image” alt=”PCB4.jpg” pe2_img_align=”right”]

Meanwhile, transfer 1/2 the popcorn into a VERY large bowl. Pour about 1/3 of the caramel over the popcorn evenly. Use a wooden spoon to toss and coat the popcorn well with the caramel, adding a little more of the caramel if needed. Now, using plastic gloves (or like me, baggies on my hands) just pick it up by handfuls and mold it into balls! It is VERY HOT, so be very careful! One tip is to not press and crush them too hard, it is better to leave some of the fluffiness of the popcorn intact as much as possible.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh5.ggpht.com/-sSHepUUEZqc/Ums1MxTCcYI/AAAAAAAAAVU/f7fzQ02P7sY/s144-c-o/PCB1.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104413851917705081151/PopcornBalls#5938899027126022530″ caption=”Making Popcorn Balls – Click to View” type=”image” alt=”PCB1.jpg” ]

Lay on a sheet of wax paper to cool and harden. Then, go to the other half of the popcorn and other half of the caramel and repeat!

[pe2-image src=”http://lh5.ggpht.com/-a6Et2QL6Rns/Ums1PvFvXsI/AAAAAAAAAWI/CkItbh1y27Q/s144-c-o/PCB8.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104413851917705081151/PopcornBalls#5938899078072983234″ caption=”Tower of Caramel Popcorn Deliciousness – Click to View” type=”image” alt=”PCB8.jpg” pe2_img_align=”right”]

You will not believe how many popcorn balls this recipe makes, at least 25 and more if you make them smaller, obviously. Allow the caramel popcorn balls to cool completely, then divide into individual festive bags!

Your family, and yes, even trick-or-treaters will approve of this fun, festive, fall goody!

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