This sweet and savory popcorn has rich caramel flavor, a touch of bourbon, smoked paprika, and a generous handful of toasted pecans. It’s the perfect gluten-free and vegan snack! Serves 5 to 6.
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:25 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes
Category:snack, dessert, vegan, gluten free
1 1/4 cups (140g) pecan halves
3 TBS coconut oil, divided
1/2 cup (115g) popcorn kernels
1/3 cup (80ml) brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 TBS vanilla extract (I used Singing Dog)
1 TBS + 1 tsp bourbon whisky (I used Maker’s Mark)
TOAST PECANS: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Spread the pecans on top and bake for 10 minutes. Once the pecans are done, increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).
POP POPCORN: Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the coconut oil has fully melted, add the popcorn kernels and cover the pan with a lid. Wait for the popcorn to start popping. Shake the pan every 20 seconds or so to prevent the kernels from burning. The popcorn is ready when there is about a 2-second gap between kernels popping. Turn off the heat but keep the lid on. A few kernels will continue to pop over the next minute.
PREPARE THE SAUCE: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil with the brown rice syrup and salt until it boils. Turn off the heat and mix in the paprika, vanilla bean paste, and bourbon.
MIX AND BAKE POPCORN: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside. Transfer the popcorn into a big mixing bowl with your hands. Don’t pour straight from the pan because unpopped kernels will inevitably fall through. Add the pecans and caramel sauce and stir. The caramel sauce is VERY sticky, so I used my hands to get all the popcorn covered in caramel sauce. Pour all the mixed popcorn onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes. Let the popcorn cool and enjoy! Best served immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.
1. Loosely adapted from the Healthy Caramel Corn recipe from Lauren’s Latest.[br][br]2. If you don’t have brown rice syrup, use maple syrup, honey, or agave. [br][br]3. If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, just use 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract.