I’m going to a food swap today! A food swap is an event where people bring homemade goodies including homegrown fruits, vegetables and herbs, or like me, bring snacks and desserts. It is a great little event where there are lots of food samples to taste and goodies to swap for. The last time Steve and I went, we came home with tons of preserves, herbs and sweets.
I decided this time I would bring one of my all time favorite snacks. I came up with the recipe years ago when I was eating some store bought caramel corn and added some chili powder on a whim. It tasted so good that I almost never make regular popcorn anymore. I always make chili caramel popcorn.
Chili Caramel Popcorn
- 3/4 cup pop corn kernels, unpopped
- 2 1/2 tbsp oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 1/2 tsp salt, separated (I used kosher)
- 1/2 tsp chili powder, separated (The amount totally depends on how potent your chili powder is.So use less if you have a super spicy chili)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- Heat oil and corn kernels in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
- Stir a few times so that the oil coats all the kernels and cover. Leave the lid slightly ajar so the steam can escape.
- The corn should start popping in about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat as soon as the popping slows. Leave the lid on for a few more minutes because the corn will continue to pop.
- Transfer the popped corn into a large mixing bowl. Be sure to remove the unpopped kernels.
- In a medium saucepan, heat 2 cups sugar with 1/2 cup water on medium heat. Do NOT stir.
- While the sugar is boiling, mix the baking soda, 2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of chili powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When the sugar turns a light brown color, add the butter and stir. It will foam up. Just stir through that.
- Add the balsamic vinegar. Stir.
- Add the baking soda, salt and chili mixture. The sugar will foam up again. Stir quickly and pour over the popped corn. Quickly coat the popped corn with the caramel as evenly as possible.
- Mix the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of chili powder and sprinkle evenly over the caramel corn.
- Transfer the mixture to a parchment lined baking sheet and stick in the oven for about 20 minutes.
- Let the mixture cool and serve.