Warm ginger, cinnamon and clove meet sweet and crunchy caramel corn in in treat that’s sure to put you and your friends in the Christmas spirit!
I bought chestnuts once, determined to roast them. You know, Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… Or in my case, in the oven. Much as I love that song, roasting chestnuts wasn’t nearly the treat that roasting a pan full of gingerbread spiced caramel corn is! This dessert is perfect in so many ways. It’s gluten and nut free, which makes it a great low allergen option for Christmas parties. The scent of it roasting fills the house with the warm scent of gingerbread. And, it’s delectable enough to package in cute jars or Christmas goody bags as a gift for friends, coworkers, neighbors and teachers.
To make this recipe, you’ll need about a 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels. Pop them using your preferred method. An air popper would work great, but I chose to pop mine on the stove top. If you use microwaveable popcorn, you’ll need about 10 to 12 cups popped popcorn.
Before I begin I like to gather the spices and premix them with the baking soda in a small bowl. This way, they’re ready to go when it’s time to mix them in to the butter and sugar mixture towards the end of the recipe. I also set out the vanilla extract, since it will be added at the same time.
The idea of creating a candy caramel glaze may seem intimidating if you don’t have much cooking experience, but it’s so easy! Check out the pictures under the recipe for an idea of what to watch for as you cook.
- ½ cup popcorn kernels or 10 to 12 cups popped popcorn
- 1 TBS ground ginger
- 1¾ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup butter (1½ sticks)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 250°.
- Pop the popcorn kernels and set aside in a large heat proof bowl.
- Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Don't use a small pan because the mixture will bubble and expand when you mix in the baking soda and may overflow in a small pan.
- Once melted, stir in the brown sugar and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
- Keep at a boil for about 3 or 4 minutes, stirring often. When the mixture begins to pull away from the sides, it is about ready. (See the pictures below)
- Remove from heat and immediately stir in the remaining ingredients. It will bubble towards the top of the pot so be careful.
- Pour the mixture over the popcorn, stirring as you pour. Continue stirring until the popcorn is well coated.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. (Wax paper will work too in a pinch.)
- Spread the caramel popcorn in a single, even layer on the baking sheet and place in the oven.
- Bake for one hour.