When you think “staple food of winter holidays”, what do you think?
Probably cookies, but what about POPCORN?!
It is the time of the year where popcorn is all around in all forms! Caramel, “zebra”, butter, cheese, etc. etc.
In fact, when I think “Christmas treats”, I get very clear memories of those big variety tins of popcorn (where the caramel slot is always significantly lower than the plain slots…).
So, what better sweet snack to bake up this year than some delectable spicy, beer-battered caramel corn!
Get those kernels popping and the beer flowing, because this is a recipe you’ll be asked to make over and over!
Spicy, Beer-Battered Caramel Corn
15-17 cups popped popcorn
12 tbsp light margarine (¾ cup)
*or any other butter option you prefer
½ cup light brown sugar
*or regular brown sugar
½ cup sugar substitute
*or regular brown sugar
*or light brown sugar
2 oz lager (not light)
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp butter extract
¾ tsp cayenne powder
¼ tsp baking soda
*preheat oven to 260*
1. Pop popcorn whichever way you prefer (either microwave, stovetop, or buy bagged popcorn!). Remove kernels by pouring into one bowl, then scooping into another (leaving unpopped kernels behind at the bottom of the first bowl).
2. Make the caramel sauce by melting butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, mix in sugar until dissolved. Turn heat up to medium high and bring butter/sugar mixture to a boil for 4-5 minutes. At the start of the boil, stir in beer, vanilla, and butter extract. Continue boil without stirring.
3. Turn off the heat and add in baking soda and cayenne powder. Mix until sauce foams then turns into a smooth glaze.
4. Let sauce cool for about 5 minutes, then SLOWLY and GENTLY pour over popcorn while folding with a spoon to coat all kernels.
If you do this too fast or too soon after turning off the heat, the kernels will shrivel up immediately as you pour the sauce onto them. I made this mistake the last 2 times! Though it still turns out delicious, sometimes you want some big, fluffy kernels in there with the little (shriveled) crunchy ones.
My suggestion: get a helper! Have someone pour little by little as you mix, or vice versa. Pour a little, mix-mix-mix, pour a little more, mix-mix-mix...you get the idea.
Lastly, be GENTLE when stirring/mixing as to not break a bunch of the kernels.
5. Arrange on 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or foil. Lay popcorn out in even layers and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
6. Let cool completely before serving. Salt if desired!
Can last in an airtight container for up to 1 week, though I never have been able to keep it around for that long, so no need to even worry about that ;)
*Nutritional information will vary based on ingredient choices, but roughly around 146 calories, 9g fat, 16g carbs, 1g protein per 25g serving*
Now, be forewarned, this is not my typical “healthy, protein packed” recipe!
However, I did still try to make it as low-fat/low-carb as I could. So, if you are looking to snack on this every day (like me), and want it to be more “macro friendly”, then follow the recipe above. If it is just a "1 day thing" to share with many, and macros don’t matter, then go all-out and make the full-fat, full-carb version! That is what I plan on doing this week for when I serve it up on Christmas!
Here are your options below for switching things around:
1. The popcorn.
Low-fat option: Pop your own in an air popper, buy pre-bagged “natural” options that aren’t seasoned (typically these options run around 5-8g of fat per serving), microwave popcorn again in the “natural”, unseasoned variety
“Who cares” option: pop your own on the stovetop using oil, buy any pre-bagged popcorn that sounds appealing (I would still do just plain salted or butter, don’t do any crazy seasonings), or plain microwave popcorn either butter or just lightly salted.
2. The sugar.
Low-carb option: Use 1 full cup of light brown sugar or use ½ cup light brown sugar and ½ cup Splenda or other substitute
“Who cares” option: Use 1 full cup brown sugar
“I kind of care” option: Use ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup light brown sugar
3. The butter.
Low-fat option: Go for low-fat margarine or plain margarine.
“Who cares” option: Use regular sticks of butter.
There you have it! I’m warning you now, this stuff is ADDICTIVE! I hope you and your loved ones enjoy!
Feel free to drop me a message to let me know how you/they like it, and if you did any of your own spins on it!
I love hearing from you all and love seeing your posts of my recipes, so remember to tag me (@forzaprofitness) on social media!