How’s about a little sweet treat to go with your St. Patrick’s Day eats? This caramel corn is freakishly easy to make and only takes about 8 minutes to prep!! With a hint of warm cinnamon in the boozy caramel sauce and a sprinkling of course sea salt, it’s hard to resist this salty-sweet Irishy treat!
Caramel corn is best made with air-popped popcorn, so use an air popcorn maker…don’t have one? Me neither! Do this handy dandy quick trick instead: place 2 tablespoons of popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag (like a lunch bag), fold the opening over a few times to close and microwave it for about a minute and a half. Voila, popcorn! Do this twice, add it to a large bowl and you’re all set to make this caramel corn! Now onto the caramel part…
This caramel sauce takes literally 5 minutes to make. It goes quick and you have to stir it constantly, so make sure all your ingredients are ready…ahem, I’m talking to you baking soda! Butter, turbinado or light brown sugar, Irish Whiskey (I used Jameson), honey, cinnamon, cream of tartar, and salt go in the pan at once. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Make sure you have the baking soda ready…after the caramel boils for 4 minutes — yes, 4 — take it off the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda. It will bubble up a little, it’s cool. Well, no, actually it’s really freaking hot, but you know what I mean. Also, don’t touch it. Seriously, it’s hot.
Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn and gently (but quickly) stir to coat.
Spread the popcorn out in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, then sprinkle with course or flaked salt. I used course Pink Himalayan Salt, but course kosher salt is fine, too.
Bake in a 200 degree F. oven for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes. You may be tempted to try a piece or two — DON’T, it’s very hot. But I did, so…
After an hour, remove it from the oven and let cool. Break it into pieces and store in an airtight container…it keeps for a while, but I promise you it won’t be around for long!
If you’re making this for a party, you can make it 2 – 3 days in advance and it will still be awesome! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!
Irish Whiskey Salted Caramel Corn
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup turbinado or light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons honey or light corn syrup
3 – 4 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon course salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Add popped popcorn to a large bowl.
In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, sugar, honey, whiskey, cream of tartar, salt and cinnamon to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat and immediately stir in the baking soda. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and quickly but gently stir to coat the popcorn.
Spread the popcorn onto the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with course salt. Bake for 1 hour, stirring the popcorn every 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Break up the large pieces and store in an air tight container. Enjoy!
*If you don’t have a popcorn popper, which I don’t, just add 2 Tablespoons of popcorn kernels to a brown paper bag (like a lunch bag), fold the top over a few times and pop in the microwave for 1 minute 20 seconds to 1 minute 40 seconds. This will make about 4 cups, so you will need to do this twice; you can use the same bag.