Looking for the perfect snack for family gatherings or holiday parties this season? Want to treat someone to a special homemade gift? Caramel popcorn is always a great idea, but why not bump it up a bit and take it to the next level with some White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Caramel Popcorn? Bursting with the flavors of pumpkin pie, covered in a creamy decadent white chocolate drizzle, this popcorn is sure to be a hit no matter what the occasion. Better yet, package it and give it as a gift that will be remembered long after the holidays. It’s such a simple and easy recipe you can easily make it time and again.
In fact, it’s so simple you can easily mix it up and make several different variations. When I owned Twisted Chocolat I made a number of different types of caramel popcorn. Don’t forget to check out those recipes below!
WHITE CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN SPICE CARAMEL POPCORN
You will need about 6 cups of popped popcorn for this recipe. If you don’t want to pop popcorn in a popcorn popper or on the stove, you can use microwave popcorn. I suggest getting a plain natural variety without salt or butter.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl.
MAKE THE PUMPKIN SPICE CARAMEL
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter of a heavy bottom pot.
Add 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice and ¼ cup honey and stir.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Once it starts to boil, leave it be without stirring. Boil for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. It will boil up a little so be careful. Stir to combine.
Pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir. Be very careful with the hot caramel. I find it easier to pour about 1/3 of the caramel, stir, and then repeat until all of the popcorn is coated with the caramel.
Divide the popcorn between the two cookie sheets and spread out evenly.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring the popcorn every 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt. Set aside and let it cool.
ASSEMBLE CARAMEL POPCORN
At this point, if you want to personalize this popcorn, feel free to add any other add-ins that may appeal to your family, guests or anyone you may be giving this to as a gift. Take your popcorn to a next level and add things like pieces of chocolate chip cookies, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or chocolate chips. How about dried cranberries? If you are not concerned about peanut/tree nut allergies you also can add nuts to this recipe.
Once cool, coat with a white chocolate drizzle.
WHITE CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE
You can melt the white chocolate over a double boiler on the stove or in the microwave. I find it easier and faster to melt the chocolate in the microwave. Just to be sure not to overheat and burn the chocolate, as white chocolate burns easily.
Place 3/4 cup white chocolate chips in a glass bowl. Microwave on medium for 30 seconds. Remove and stir the chips. Microwave for 15 seconds. Remove and stir chocolate until all of the chips are melted.
Using a spoon, drizzle the white chocolate over the popcorn.
Set aside to let white chocolate set up.
Once white chocolate has hardened, break apart popcorn into a bowl and enjoy!
If not eating immediately, store popcorn in an air-tight container. The popcorn will keep in an air-tight container for up to a month, but I feel it is best eaten within a week to 10 days.
CARAMEL POPCORN VARIETIES
Homemade caramel popcorn makes a great gift during the holidays. You can package the popcorn in so many different ways, either in cellophane bags tied with a pretty ribbon, an air-tight canister or a decorative glass container. Whatever the container, just make sure it is air-tight.
It is incredibly easy to create your own variations of caramel popcorn. Here are a few suggestions from my days of owning Twisted Chocolat:
Bourbon Ball Caramel Popcorn: Omit the pumpkin spice and vanilla extract in the recipe above and add 1 tablespoon bourbon after taking the caramel off the heat. Once the popcorn has come out of the oven and cooled, add chocolate cookie pieces to the popcorn. Coat with white chocolate and dust with bourbon smoked sugar and bourbon smoked salt.
Gingerbread Caramel Popcorn: Use gingerbread spice in place of pumpkin spice in the recipe above. Add gingerbread pieces to popcorn after it has come out of the oven and cooled. Coat with a white chocolate drizzle.
Chocolate Chip Caramel Popcorn: Omit the pumpkin spice in the recipe above. Add pieces of chocolate chip cookies to the popcorn after it has cooled. Coat with white and dark chocolate drizzle.
Chocolate Smoked Pretzel Popcorn: Replace brown sugar with a smoked sugar. Omit pumpkin spice. Once popcorn has come out of the oven and cooled, add pieces of pretzels. Coat with a dark chocolate drizzle.
Below is a picture of how I packaged my popcorn. You can find these canisters at many craft store. Add your own personalized label and some holiday ribbon and you have a beautfiul gift anyone would enjoy.