I am all cookied out. Every single cookie that I brought home from last weekend’s exchange is gone. I didn’t eat them all, because that would be a terrible idea, but I had my share. And now I can’t even bring myself to edit the photos for the butterscotch cookie post that’s hanging out in my drafts folder.
I’m so over cookies that I’m actually looking forward to a spinach salad for lunch.
What I am not over, besides that salad, is caramel popcorn. But not just any caramel corn. Caramel corn spiked with a generous dose of gingerbread spices.
It’s Christmas in a bowl… you know, if you’d ever put Christmas into a bowl and then try to ruin it by sitting on the couch to hate-watch a Homeland mini-marathon. But at least while the frustratingly empty minutes tick by, your house smells like gingerbread and you have handful after handful of spicy, crunchy gingerbread caramel corn to keep you company.
Gingerbread Caramel Corn
Caramel popcorn gets a holiday makeover with a generous dose of gingerbread spices.
- 6 cups popped popcorn (the yield from 1/3 rounded cup of kernels)
- Cooking spray or parchment paper
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar*
- 3 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Scrapings from 1 vanilla bean (can substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste)
- 2-3 tsp gingerbread spice (purchased or homemade)
- * I don't buy brown sugar so I substitute with 1 tsp molasses + 1/3 cup granulated sugar.
- Preheat oven to 300.
- Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment. Have a rubber spatula handy.
- Pop the popcorn and transfer it to a large bowl.
- Heat the butter, sugar, molasses, corn syrup, and salt in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
- Once the mixture comes to a boil, add 2 tsp gingerbread spice and cook another 5 minutes.
- Let a little of the mixture cool on a spoon and then taste - not gingerbread-y enough? Add another tsp of spices.
- Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
- Stir and immediately pour over the popcorn.
- Use a rubber spatula to stir until the popcorn is nicely coated and then transfer to the baking sheet, spreading out to an even layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
- Let cool ~15 minutes before eating.
- Store leftovers in a ziptop bag on the counter... if you have leftovers.
Yields: 6 1-cup servings
Estimated time: 45 minutes