Sunday, September 19, 2010

Exotic Caramel Corn

Yesterday I was really hungry... I had gotten up really early, raced a 10k in the morning, then drove about 3 hours to get home and was feeling rather tired.  It was a chilly morning, about 40 degrees, raining, and windy...the type of weather that makes you hungry for comfort food.  While I was finishing my cooldown I was dreaming up yummy things to make for dessert after dinner that didn't require a lot of time or effort and wouldn't leave me feeling like I had a sugar overload.  Caramel corn came to mind...maybe it was because of the fallish cool weather.  I know it is not the typical comfort food or dessert, but it was the type of thing I was craving...salty, sweet, and crunchy.  I thought I could make a version using agave nectar and honey instead of the usual corn syrup and sugar and coconut oil in place of the usual butter.   I decided to throw in some warming spices, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg, and some exotic ingredients, toasted coconut, pistachios, and cashews.  Some sea salt and vanilla were added as well to give it some extra goodness.  It all came together really quickly, and I just used a bag of  microwave popcorn I had in my cupboard for the corn part if it, since I didn't have any plain popcorn.  The caramel coating smelled wonderful as it was cooking with all the spices, and I couldn't wait to try it on the popcorn...once it was all mixed together and the goodies were added to it, I had to have a taste even before it cooled!  It was heavenly...sweet, salty and crunchy...the aromatic spices along with the add ins, it was definately the best caramel corn I have ever eaten.  It was the perfect remedy for the type of day I had, and even more wonderful as I enjoyed it with some spiced apple cider.  Try this  recipe out if you would like a little snack, or for an alternative to the usual desserts!  It makes a good amount, so share some with family and friends, they will thank you, and I guaruntee it won't last long. 

Exotic Caramel Corn
Makes about 10 cups

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

1 bag of pop corn (3.5 oz), popped
1 cup large flake coconut, toasted
1 cup dates, pitted and quartered
1 cup shelled roasted pistachios
1 cup toasted cashews

In a small saucepan, combine coconut oil, agave nectar, honey, spices and sea salt.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, and cook for 2 minutes while stirring.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  In a large stockpot, place popcorn, coconut, pistachios and cashews.  Pour coating mixture over and cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes more, stirring often.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.  Remove popcorn from heat, stir in dates, and spread out on baking sheet to cool.


  1. Sounds delicious! I love caramel corn in cold weather! I can't tell you how many tins of caramel popcorn I eat at Christmas... haha! Great entry!

  2. Wow...this is SO pretty! And to know it's healthy to boot is even better. Saving for this fall...this would make a really pretty Christmas gift with maybe some dried cranberries for a touch of RED :)!

  3. This looks really good! What a great crunchy snack!

  4. This looks great! Very similar to Indian chaat! I'm going to have to try this recipe.

  5. Fantastic! Creative, savory-sweet. Love it! This caramel corn recipe has a wonderful assortment of flavors.

  6. Love this recipe- I think even my diabetic husband could enjoy it- Perfect for when you are not sure whether you want something salty or sweet!

  7. Beautiful! I should make this for our weekly family movie night although I have a sneaking suspicion the kids might eat all the pistachios first! I love the subtle heat of the cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg; so unexpected.

  8. Found your blog through foodbuzz & am a new follower!
    - Jessica @