Many years ago my sister, cousin and I decided that we wanted to make homemade caramel popcorn. We got out my parents popcorn popper circa 1975 and went to town. Side note: all jokes aside that thing was on it’s last leg for years until it finally burned out last year. Anyway, we popped up some popcorn and found a recipe online for caramel sauce. The recipe was a hit and we have probably made about 300 batches of it in the last 12 years. We’ve made it for every holiday and even popped up about 10 batches to give to guests at my brother’s wedding weekend. I still haven’t ruled out starting my own caramel corn company. 😉 Fast forward to 2015 and caramel popcorn is still one of my favorite sweet treats. However, knowing what I know now I would never think that I would be able to enjoy this treat guilt free. After all, caramel popcorn is made with popcorn (duh) and corn syrup. Corn is one of the most mass produced GMO crops in the world and those little alien organisms are found in sneaky places like corn syrup too. Living a GMO free lifestyle is something that I feel strongly about. Personally, I just don’t feel like there is enough long term research out there to prove that GMOs are healthy for us. Do you want to be an FDA guinea pig? I don’t. I was so excited to discover that Wholesome Sweeteners makes a non-GMO, organic corn syrup! Alas, I could finally enjoy one of my favorite treats without consuming GMOs. This recipe is decadent, sweet, buttery and out of this world! It is definitely an indulgence, but like I always say, balance is key! I will gladly run a few extra miles if it means caramel popcorn. This year, I decided to pop up a couple of batches for Mother’s Day gifts. Homemade gifts are just the sweetest in my opinion, pun intended! I bought large mason jars and voila, I’ll be giving the best gift of the day. Not to mention the hand painted cards that go with each jar. Mason jar + sweet caramel corn + hand painted card = cuteness factor x 3. Now that’s a math equation I like.
Non-GMO Organic Caramel Popcorn
1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Pop popcorn and remove un-popped kernels before transferring to a large bowl.
3. In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup.
4. On high heat, bring to a boil. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes until bubbling and caramel sauce forms.
5. Pour caramel over popped popcorn and stir well to coat.
6. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray before placing coated popcorn on it.
7. Bake caramel corn for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.
8. Let caramel corn cool for 5 minutes before breaking it up and placing in an airtight container.
Note: Each batch fills about 3 large mason jars.