This caramel apple bourbon popcorn is a great way to pop in a little extra flavor to your traditional caramel corn!
Have you ever made your own caramel popcorn? With fair season being in full swing, my mind has been gravitating toward all of those sticky sweet fair treats you can find when you walk down the food alley at your small town carnival each year. I grew up attending The National Peanut Festival in Dothan, AL every year as a child, and I can still remember the sights, smells and sounds of the fairway as we made our way through the festivities of the fair every year.
Of course you have your funnel cakes, polish dogs, deep fried oreos and mile-high hamburgers, but the smell of the popcorn is one of those beloved smells that will always come through when I think of the fair. You’ll find jumbo bags of popcorn in every flavor hanging from the rafters of popup tents and food trucks, but the caramel corn was always a favorite of mine.
I’ve been making my own caramel popcorn for a few years now after I discovered how easy it is to make. (If you like a little heat with your sweet, here’s my recipe for Sriracha Caramel Popcorn!)
Realizing how easy it is to infuse different flavors into the caramel, I decided to take a stab at making a seasonal flavor using apple cider and a smidge of bourbon. Both flavors are always popular during the fall and winter months, and my first attempt at this flavor pairing was pretty successful! I used just a small amount of bourbon in this recipe, but I can definitely pick out the flavor. The apple cider doesn’t pull through as hard, so in the future as I adjust the recipe, I am going to see what adding a smidge of apple pie spice will do to the flavor. Overall, I think this was a hit, and it’ll make an awesome Christmas present for a caramel corn lover!
- 2 Bags microwaveable buttered popcorn - popped
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ stick salted butter (roughly 4 Tbs)
- 1 cup brown sugar - packed
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp Bourbon
- 1 Tbs pure apple cider
- Pop the popcorn according to package instructions and pour into a large bowl
- Preheat oven to 250 F
- In a medium size pot, combine corn syrup, brown sugar and butter. Bring to a boil for roughly 1 minute and reduce heat
- Continue boiling over low-medium heat for roughly 3-4 minutes, then remove completely from heat
- Add in 1 tsp baking powder, bourbon and apple cider - mixture will quickly begin to rise and thicken
- Stir sauce well to ensure no clumps are left behind form baking soda and allow to cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly
- Immediately pour sauce over popcorn and stir well to coat
- Spread coated popcorn onto a large greased baking dish (one with sides) and bake for 30 minutes
- Remove from oven and allow to cool before breaking apart. Do not allow popcorn to sit on this dish for a long period of time. I recommend immediately transferring to a serving bowl or bag after breaking apart to prevent popcorn from sticking to the pan
- Serve and enjoy!
What other flavors would you love to see infused in a caramel corn recipe? I think the possibilities are nearly endless, and I look forward to creating and perfecting caramel corn recipes as we head full steam ahead into the holidays!