This time of year always makes me nostalgic for the days when Trick-or-Treaters brought home bags of homemade candied apples and popcorn balls. Just because that world only exists in Peanuts cartoons doesn’t mean we can’t have some Halloween fun with this delicious, buttery caramel popcorn recipe.
Prepared popcorn for dressing (about 1/2 cup unpopped or a bag or microwave ready popcorn)
Heat the sugar in a large pot until your desired caramel is achieved.
Remove from heat and add butter, salt, and the optional liquor if using.
Once the mixture is even in texture, add the baking soda and stir quickly to incorporate. This will bubble and steam vigorously - safety first!
Once everything is stirred together and dissolved, immediately pour over your prepared popcorn and toss to coat evenly. If the caramel cools too fast, place the whole mixture in a warm oven for a few moments to coat more evenly.
Pour onto a lined surface (like a silpat) and allow to cool completely before eating.
Sprinkle with desired spices, sugars, or salts as it cools. Feel free to mix with other nuts or candies to up the salty or sweet factor. While it's still flexible, shape into classic popcorn balls and allow to cool completely before eating.
Store popcorn in an airtight, dry container away from moisture.
Caramel can be fairly dangerous stuff. There isn't a pastry chef out there that hasn't seared their skin with this sticky substance. If it gets on your skin, wipe quickly with a wet cloth to keep it from setting, which will burn worse.