One little known fact about me is that I love bourbon. I also love holiday baking, and although I mostly take a back seat on the baking and just participate in the eating part, I decided this year being away from home that it’s time to pull up my red and green socks and start ‘participating’ in the actual baking as well.
As much as I love the chocolates, cookies, and pies I go mad for my mom’s caramel popcorn. Seeing my mom make this for her friends every year taught me the same and this year I decided to make it for all my friends and 2018 wedding clients!
My mom’s recipe is great, but I wanted to make it even better (sorry mom). I wanted to make it totally vegan and more adult friendly. After 3 failed attempts, I now have a recipe too good not to share with you all. So if you love holiday baking, bourbon, and ugly Santa sweaters then you’ve come to the right place!
Please enjoy this recipe as it’s way too good to pass up!
(I also want to disclaim an apology for our ugly 70’s kitchen, it’s not great to photograph in but I did my best so you could at least see what the different stages look like)
Total Time – 1 hour and 10 minutes
¼ cup – almond slivers or peanuts *optional
-Bourbon Caramel Sauce-
1 cup – brown sugar
1/2 cup – Earth Balance Original (I’m sure any vegan butter would do just fine in place)
1 tsp – salt
1/4 cup – maple syrup
3 oz – bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
1 tsp – vanilla extract
1/4 tsp – baking soda
1 oz – bourbon
1.) Before anything else you need to make your popcorn. I recommend plain air popped popcorn. I forgot to measure out how much popcorn this recipe will cover, so I would recommend making a fairly large bowl and then separating it into two bowls. (When you get to the part where you pour the caramel over the popcorn, do one bowl at a time). If I had to guess it was probably just under 1/2 cup of kernels. Either way, if you end up with left over caramel sauce or popcorn you’re not in the worst situation ever (aka, eat the popcorn or use the extra caramel sauce for your pancakes!)
2.) Preheat the oven to 250 F
3.) Now comes the good stuff. Add your brown sugar, Earth Balance ‘butter’, maple syrup and 3 oz of bourbon into a pot on medium heat. You are going to stir this until it starts to boil, once boiling stop stirring and set a timer for 5 minutes. During the 5 minutes do not stir or move the pot, just simply let it boil.
4.) Once the timer goes off you will stir in vanilla, baking soda and the remaining 1 oz of bourbon. This should happen quickly so be prepared. Once all of that is added start to gently pour the sauce over the popcorn trying to cover as much of the popcorn as possible. Stop halfway through, stir and add more as needed. You want to pour it over the popcorn while the sauce is bubbling. Once the popcorn is coated in the caramel, to your liking, do one last mix with your choice of nuts, I love it with almond slivers or whole almonds, but feel free to use whichever nut and however much you prefer. Once all is mixed in put it on a baking sheet* and place into the oven, then set a timer for 15 minutes. The popcorn will be in the oven for an hour in total but you need to make sure that you stir and move it around every 15/20 minutes.
*don’t pour extra caramel sauce on top of the popcorn once It’s on the baking sheet. As tempting as it is i tried this and found that it changed the texture and cooking ability.
Once your hour is up, you will take it out and let it cool completely, then package it up or put it in your favourite bowl and enjoy!