If you’ve ever wondered how to make caramel corn, it’s easy. You pop some corn, boil some honey and molasses, dump it over the popcorn, stir, and make cute little caramel corn balls. Your kids can even help once the caramel has cooled enough to handle.
Some of you are thinking – why molasses? It’s made from cane sugar. Yes, it is. It’s actually what’s leftover from processing white sugar. Due to the method, molasses is very low in sucrose and also rich in copper, manganese, calcium, and iron. It’s a healthier alternative. I can tolerate it in small amounts and enjoy the flavor it brings to this recipe and others, like gingerbread.
For those that are nut-allergic, try roasted, salted pepitas or sunflower seeds. I was going for a traditional caramel corn that would take me back to my childhood. Each sticky bite brings me back to fall Ohio weekends walking though food and art festivals with my Dad.
A note about clean-up: Don’t bother trying to scrub your pot and bowl clean. Fill the pot half-full with water, cover, and bring to a boil. It’ll melt away any caramel residue. To clean the bowl, fill it with very hot water and let it sit until the caramel starts to dissolve on its own.
Other Gluten-Free Fall Recipes:
- Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake from SS&GF
- Shepard’s Pie with Pumpkin Souffle from Tasty East at Home
- Fall Harvest Lentil Soup from The Daily Dietribe
- Grain-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
This recipe has been adapted from Covered in Honey by Mani Niall. I love this book and Chef Niall’s creativity! It’s not gluten-free but is filled with brilliant ideas for cooking & baking refined sugar-free.
Serves: 8 popcorn balls
- 6 cups popped popcorn
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon cider vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts (optional)
- Grease a large, heatproof bowl and wooden spoon with canola oil. It should be well coated without being overly greasy. The caramel will stick to any spot that's not covered in oil.
- In a heavy bottomed, 4-quart saucepan combine the honey, water, blackstrap molasses, butter, vinegar and salt.
- Bring to a boil, stirring to melt the the butter. Cover and let boil for 3 - 4 minutes.
- Uncover and cook for another 4 - 5 minutes, until the temperature reaches 250F on a candy thermometer.
- Add the peanuts to to caramel mixture and stir well.
- Slowly pour the hot caramel over the popcorn while stirring to coat.
- Once the caramel is cool enough to handle, form into equal sized balls. If desired, put a popsicle stick in the center of each ball. (Note: I suggest wearing food-grade plastic gloves that are lightly covered in canola oil. This will keep the caramel corn from sticking to your hands. If you don't have gloves, oil your hands.)
- Let cool completely on wax paper. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Store at room temperature.