Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 5 mins
This is a great alternative to regular caramel corn and the heat is mild enough that most people can eat a good-sized portion without burning their mouths. And believe me, they will! This stuff is addictive. Makes great gifts at Christmas time. I also like to bring it to parties in December.
- *Note: Make sure your chile powder is made from 100% chiles with no added spices like garlic and salt or it will ruin the flavor of your caramel corn. I nearly made this mistake once with Kroger chile powder but thankfully noticed it smelled more like prepared chili than plain hot chiles and sure enough, they had added the spices you would want in it if you were using it for chili (but not for your caramel corn!).
- Preheat oven to 200°F.
- Divide the popcorn into two large bowls or put in a large tub that allows ample room for stirring so that you'll have no trouble coating the popcorn when the caramel is ready. Sprinkle 1 cup nuts over each bowl of popcorn.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except for the baking soda. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once it begins to boil, stop stirring and allow to boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Stir well and make sure that no lumps remain.
- Pour half of the caramel over each bowl (or all of it over just the one if you're using a tub) and stir each thoroughly, until the popcorn and nuts are pretty evenly coated.
- Pour into a large roaster pan or two jelly roll pans and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Spread onto waxed paper to cool. Serve once it is dry or store in an airtight container.