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Every year when the holidays start rolling around, my family begins to plan the menu and discuss who is bringing certain dishes to our gatherings. For Thanksgiving this year, I was assigned desserts and a delicious party food appetizer. I always go with the classic desserts but I wanted to do something a bit different for an appetizer. What would be a great dish to snack on while preparing Thanksgiving dinner and watching all the Thanksgiving football games? My first thought was caramel popcorn but since it was the holidays, I had to “spice” this holiday party recipe up a bit using Tabasco!
I recently ran across a map of the U.S. which marked each State by the brand it is know for, not surprisingly Louisiana is known for Tabasco! Now let me back up a bit and tell you my thought process behind the Tabasco Caramel Popcorn recipe decision. You see my family is originally from Louisiana, New Orleans to be exact, and we not only love our flavorful food but we are also the home of Tabasco. So, with most of the attendants for our Thanksgiving Day gathering being Louisianans; I wanted to bring a little bit of “home” to our palates with Tabasco.
I went to the local Walmart to pick up all the ingredients for our Thanksgiving Day party. When I headed down the aisle for the Tabasco sauce, I noticed there was ONE bottle left of the original. Now I can understanding this happening in New Orleans, we will use the heck out of some Tabasco but I had no idea that it was SO popular in other parts of the country. Deliciousness is universal, so I am not TOO surprised.
I was not sure what flavor I wanted to use at the time so I picked up all three flavors; Original Red, Green Jalapeño and Chipotle flavored sauce. OK I lied. I knew which flavor I wanted to use but I wanted all three flavors in the house, you can never have too much Tabasco in my opinion. My husband is a fan of the Green Jalapeño flavor, it is not spicy like the original but it contains that smokey and savory flavor. I knew this is what I wanted to go for in my Jalapeño Caramel Corn recipe, I did not want hot popcorn but I wanted to maintain that Tabasco flavor.
Now let me give you an important tip on making homemade Caramel Popcorn, you want to use popcorn that has been air popped. So, if you decide to venture into the world of homemade caramel corn; invest in a good air popper! There is a draw back on using an air popper, it leaves a lot of seeds. So, don’t forget to sift through the popcorn and remove all of the loose seeds before adding your caramel mixture.
After you see how easy it is to prepare the caramel mixture, you will begin making homemade caramel corn regularly. Boil the butter, brown sugar and light corn syrup for a good 2 minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will begin to foam and look like the picture above.
Pour the caramel over the popcorn and mix well. You may notice that the color is lighter when coating the popcorn but don’t worry, this is normal. The popcorn’s “caramel” color is enhanced after baking, at first it will have a very light tinged color.
Spread the popcorn mixture evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. It is important that you stir the mixture at least 2 times within that 30 minute period. This will guarantee an evenly toasted caramel popcorn!
Jalapeño Caramel Corn Recipe
9 cups air popped popcorn
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3 TBS Green Jalapeño Tabasco Sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 300 degree and place popcorn in a large bowl.
2. In a saucepan, combined butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and Tabasco and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 2 minutes, mixing constantly.
3. Remove saucepan from heat and add in vanilla and baking soda. The mixture should foam, continue to stir.
4. Drizzle the mixture over the popcorn and mix thoroughly, coating all of the popcorn.
5. Spread the popcorn evenly over a greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Stir the mixture at least 2 times within the 30 minute baking period.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Stir again so that the popcorn does not clump up.
This turned out delicious and was exactly what I was going for, I am so glad I went with the Green Jalapeño sauce! It was not spicy but contained that savory Tabasco flavor to contrast the sweetness of the caramel. A definite winner in my book.
Actually, it was a big hit with everyone and the perfect snack to munch on during the football games on Thanksgiving. It was such a huge hit, I am getting requests to make this on Superbowl Sunday!