Tomorrow is the Oscars! A swanky night for all the Hollywood celebs means I get to cozy up at home and serve up some fun snacks to nibble while we watch those shiny golden statues get handed out. In celebration of golden Oscar, this year I whipped up these Golden Caramel Coconut Popcorn Bites. Each bite of crunchy fresh popcorn is coated in a buttery, coconut-y, rich and sweet caramel coating. Caramel-coated nuts speckled in between the fluffy popcorn.
And with only four base ingredients, this vegan recipe is a simple sweet treat to try! Especially if you are a popcorn or caramel corn lover.
This was my first recipe experimenting with organic coconut palm sugar. I also used virgin coconut oil. Double coconut flavor made these bites simple, buttery and blissful. Yes they are sweet and rich, so all you really need is a tiny bite to experience the flavor. Join me in a caramel corn toast to Oscar night! (Or any movie-watching night!)..
On Caramel Making.. So normally when people make caramel corn they get all fancy and use a candy thermometer. Now I do not own one of those lovely items :) And I usually just wing my caramel. I know, I know, true candy and dessert-savvy chefs would roll their eyes at me, but I find that my methods usually work out quite well so I keep winging it! You just want to make sure that you bring the sugar mixture to a slow boil for a minute or so, without over-heating (you do not want to burn it or wait too long until it starts hardening and turns to candy texture too fast.) Give my method a try and if you like to use a thermometer - go for it!
Lighten it Up: And if you want to tone down the sweetness, you can simply add more popcorn to this recipe and the coating will be a bit thinner and lighter overall.
Sugar Substitutes. Yes you can absolutely substitute with another dry sugar. But you might want to reduce the amount by 1/4 cup since coconut sugar is kinda mildly sweet.
Golden Caramel Coconut Popcorn Bars
vegan, makes 16 bites
6+ cups air-popped popcorn
3/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup organic coconut palm sugar (Big Tree Farms, Blonde variety)
3 Tbsp water
pinch of salt
1 cup nuts (sliced almonds used)
1. Air pop your popcorn to make about 6-7 cups. Set aside, be sure to pick or strain out any loose, un-popped seeds.
2. In a small sauce pan add the water, sugar and coconut oil. Over medium heat, stir continuously until a liquid forms. Keep stirring as the mixture slowly turns to a simmer and slow boil. Stir and boil for about one minute and then reduce heat to low and stir for another minute.
3. Remove the pot from heat and pour the sugar mixture into a large mixing bowl - stainless steel or glass bowls work best. Roll the liquid in the bowl for a minute until it cools a tiny bit and looks like it is about to thicken.
4. Add the nuts to the wet mixture and stir until they are well coated.
5. Next fold in the popcorn until well coated. (Again, you can add in more popcorn if you'd like a lighter caramel corn .. more popcorn will mean you may need a larger dish or two dishes to fill.)
6. Lightly grease your dish and pack in the popcorn. Flatten until smooth. Place in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes or until the popcorn cools and chills to a firm state so that you can slice the popcorn into bites and serve. Store leftover bites in the fridge or freezer. Best consumed same day.
Nutritional estimate per serving (16 bites per recipe)..
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Posted by Kathy on 2/23/2013