Caramel corn is one of my family’s favorite treats, and some of my best memories growing up involve all of us in the kitchen popping popcorn, stirring the caramel, and piling our bowls high with sticky goodness once it was complete. Now that I have my own family, I can’t help but continue the tradition.
For Halloween, I decided to put an apple cider twist on my standard recipe. The result–a spiced, sweet, and slightly tangy popcorn that is hard to resist.
- 4 cups apple cider
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 8-10 quarts plain popped popcorn, divided into two large bowls
- In a large heavy saucepan, bring cider to a boil over medium high heat. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick, syrupy, and reduced down to about ½ to ⅔ cup. This will take about 45-60 minutes.
- Once the cider is reduced, add in the brown sugar and butter. Cook over medium heat until butter and sugar is melted and mixture comes to a rolling boil. Add in sweetened condensed milk and spices, stirring until smooth and well combined. Cook mixture over medium heat until it reaches soft ball stage (if you don't have a candy thermometer, drop a small amount of caramel into ice water--it is done when you can form the cooled caramel into a soft ball).
- Once caramel is done, pour evenly over prepared popcorn. Mix with a large wooden spoon to evenly coat the popcorn with the caramel. Let cool, then serve.