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Smoked salt caramel corn is a wonderful snacking treat. The smoked salt gives it that little bit of extra that you didn’t know you needed.
Never underestimate the power of a homemade cookie and a smile.
I know, this is popcorn, not a cookie, but stick with me here.
I’ve lived in Texas for 12 years now, and trust me, Texas is not the kind of place I would have foreseen staying in for so long. But we’ve stayed, and not just because of the lack of snow.
In 2011 I joined a group of food bloggers coming together to raise some money for disaster relief. Specifically, we set out to help the people in Japan affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Because there are so many food bloggers in Austin, the event turned out to be huge, and we raised nearly $12,000 for AmeriCares.
Since then, we’ve had five more Austin Bakes charity fundraisers, raising money for earthquake victims and refugees, and our own local communities affected by disasters. All told, Austin Bakes has raised more than $60,000. That’s a lot of cookies!
Through each bake sale, we’ve had so many people involved, whether through baking or promoting or simply just showing up and making a purchase. You might not have done a bake sale since you were a kid, but I’ll tell you, people just light up when presented with a table full of goodies.
This weekend it’s Austin Bakes for Harvey, benefitting our neighbors on the Gulf Coast. On September 16, head to one of nine locations from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. for a treat, a smile, and a hug. Check out the locations at the Austin Bakes website, austinbakes.com
I’ll be at the Stiles Switch location with lots of goodies, including this smoked salt caramel corn!
I’ve wanted to post about this smoked salt caramel corn for a while now (years!) so this is the perfect excuse. Plus, caramel corn just seems to fit right in with the return of fall. I suppose it’s the popcorn balls that sometimes show up for Halloween, even though I never eat those!
Confession: When I was a kid I thought caramel corn was weird and gross. This is probably because I had braces, and no snack was worth dealing with wires and rubber bands for an hour afterward. And I thought it was too sugary, but what kid wants to admit that?
Then one day I decided to make it for myself because I had some smoked salt sitting around, and my mind was completely changed. I love the added depth the smoked salt provides, and using just a little less caramel helps keep the individual flavors come through.
An air popper is what you’ll want to use for the popcorn, as it will avoid the use of extra oil. You probably have one gathering dust in your closet! (Be sure to clean it first.)
Smoked salt can be found at specialty cooking stores, but I’m also starting to see it at the grocery store as well. There are lots of different varieties, but any of them will work for this smoked salt caramel corn. I like to add it to the caramel and then again after baking.
One thing to make sure is to let everything cool completely before breaking up the popcorn. I know, it’s hard to resist!
Caramel corn can last for a long time when stored in airtight containers in the freezer, so you can make a batch of this and have it on hand for impromptu snacking.
If you don’t live in Central Texas but would like to contribute to our fundraising efforts, you can head over to our First Giving page and donate there! Every penny we raise will be going to AmeriCares, which has a proven track record for charity relief.
And don’t forget to make some popcorn!
Smoked Salt Caramel Corn
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 5 tablespoons salted butter
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon smoked salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Using an air popper, pop popcorn kernels into a large bowl and set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 250°F.
- In a large saucepan, melt together butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup, whisking to combine. Carefully bring to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt, and baking soda. Be careful, as the mixture will bubble!
- Pour caramel over popcorn and stir quickly but gently to combine. Spread popcorn onto prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, then remove and sprinkle on remaining smoked salt. Let cool completely before breaking into pieces and eating or storing.
- Store leftover caramel corn in an airtight container in the freezer. Bring to room temperature before enjoying.