Every so often someone will ask about a good caramel corn recipe. While I don't recommend that you make it often, if you're going to make it, here's a little bit better version. Most recipes you see are made with corn syrup and some say to use the microwave, or even worse, they call for microwave popcorn, sick. That stuff is full of chemicals. You don't want that in your body or your kids' bodies!
It's sad but true, our teen has a sweet tooth like his Mom, and when he's motivated, he can do anything. Well, one day he was motivated to make some caramel corn, so he looked online and only saw recipes with corn syrup, but knew we don't have that here.
“What if I used maple syrup instead, Mom?” I told him to give it a shot.
Garretts caramel corn in Chicago is dreamy, but not as dreamy as this recipe. Oprah said Garrett's was her favorite, but she hasn't tried this.
It's easy, too. The only pain is all of the dishes you dirty in the process.
Better than Garretts Caramel Corn — Organic Caramel Corn Recipe
- 1 batch of my simple popcorn recipe, but don't add butter or salt on top when it's done
- 1/2 cup crispy nuts, if desired
- 1/3 cup butter, pastured butter is best
- 1/2 cup palm or coconut sugar (or other natural sugar)
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- Add a pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 300*. Make one batch of popcorn. Toss in the nuts if desired. Put butter, sugar, and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Add a pinch of sea salt. Heat the mixture on medium high. Be sure to keep stirring. Bring to a boil and allow it to boil for 2 minutes, without letting it burn! Pour over the popcorn. Using a large wooden spoon, gently stir the popcorn until all of the pieces are coated. Spread the popcorn onto a buttered cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Store leftovers in an airtight container.
UPDATE: Try this recipe that's just as good but easier and faster: Kettle Corn!
A note about adapting recipes for other Christmas treats:
A reader, Heather, emailed recently asking about adapting recipes for Christmas treats and making them a little better. Too much sugar is bad, anyway you slice it, but oh how I love it. I suggested she do what we did above, and replace any corn syrup in recipes with real maple syrup. Warning: I've only tried it with a couple recipes, let me know how it works for you.
Another ingredient I see in a lot of sweets recipes is “sweetened condensed milk” – I don't even know what that is. So if I find a recipe with that in it, I'll just keep looking and find a similar one without it. (I did this when looking for a pumpkin dessert to take to Thanksgiving, and didn't have trouble finding an alternative.) UPDATE: the comments are full of great info about this, plus I found organic sweetened condensed milk.
Have you adapted recipes to use better ingredients? Let us know what you did!
Or if you have a favorite Christmas treat recipe that you're wondering how to adapt, comment and all of us can try to help.
- Christmas home tour – see pics of our home (and others) at Christmastime
- Other dessert recipes that are a little better than some.
- Eggs are a superfood!
- Have you heard about how good germinated rice is for us?
photo by hellosputnik