Crisp caramel apples and crunchy caramel corn combine in this flavorful fall treat.
This new bite sized treat is quickly becoming a fall favorite in my household. Sorry candy corn, but I have a feeling I’m going to be seeing a lot less of you this fall. Homemade caramel apple popcorn has usurped many of the store bought treats that usually find their way into my kitchen this time of year. I’m a huge fan of homemade treats for three reasons:
- First, warm homemade goods often make the house smell amazing, especially fall themed treats like this one. During the final step of this recipe the smell of warm apple pie spice and sweet caramel fills the house as if ushering fall into every corner.
- Second, making homemade goods allows you to decide which ingredients go into your food. This recipe uses common pantry staples, no corn syrup, no artificial flavors or dyes.
- Third, I appreciate homemade treats because food made from scratch is often much cheaper than prepackaged items. Caramel apple popcorn is inexpensive, yet it makes a great gourmet gift for friends and family this holiday season!
This recipe begins with creating your own caramel sauce on the stove top. (It’s easy, I promise!) In the final step, the gooey delicious caramel apple popcorn is baked in the oven, leaving you with a crunchy, not sticky, treat. It can easily be eaten by the handful. That may or may not be a good thing, as it can disappear quite quickly (in my house at least). Ready to wow your friends with a delicious homemade treat? Grab your ingredients and let’s get cooking!
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels or 10 to 12 cups popped popcorn
- 1 oz dried apples (see note)
- 1 tsp apple pie spice (see note)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- Preheat oven to 250°.
- Pop the popcorn kernels using preferred method and set aside in a large heat proof bowl. (I cook my kernels in 3 tbs of oil on the stove top, following package instructions)
- Chop dried apples into small pieces and toss with popcorn.
- Melt butter in a 2 quart or larger pot. (The mixture will bubble and expand when you add the baking soda and may overflow in a smaller pot.)
- Stir brown sugar into melted butter and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
- Keep at a boil for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often. The mixture will begin to pull away from the sides of the pot when it is almost done.
- Remove from heat and add apple pie spice, salt, baking soda and vanilla. It will bubble towards the top of the pot at this point. Carefully stir to combine.
- Pour caramel sauce over popcorn and apple pieces, stirring as you pour. Continue stirring until the popcorn is well coated.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spread popcorn in an even layer on each one.
- Bake for one hour at 250°.
- Allow to cool and enjoy!
Notes: Things move quickly once the caramel sauce starts to boil. I recommend measuring out the spice, salt and baking soda in advance, placing it into a small bowl, so that it’s ready to add to the sauce as soon as it comes off the heat. I picked up dried apple slices at my local grocery store. Check the produce area and the dried fruit area where you would find raisins. I made my own apple pie spice using this recipe, but you can buy premixed apple pie spice at most grocery stores.