totally nuts: spiced caramel corn with pepitas, almonds & pecans

spiced caramel corn with pepitas, almonds & nuts

I’ve been wanting to make caramel corn for years, but whenever I asked Cornelius if he wanted any, he always said no. Can you believe that I married someone who couldn’t care less about caramel corn? It just didn’t make much sense to me, so when I prodded him further he told me that he just didn’t like it. Crazy, right? He told me that his grandma made caramel corn and it was sticky and too sweet. I said, do I look like your grandma? Actually, I never said that, but you get the gist.

spiced caramel corn with pepitas, almonds & nuts

Me, I grew up with caramel corn….sort of. What I mean is that I grew up with a homemade caramel sauce that was pretty identical to the recipe below. But instead of baking the popcorn for an hour in a slow oven, my mom and I just poured the sauce over some popcorn and we called it done. Popcorn was always a last-minute snack so waiting for an hour didn’t make sense to our impatient bellies. Sweet? Yup. Sticky? Definitely. So I was curious to see what baking the caramel corn would do. Let me tell you that it does all the right things.

spiced caramel corn with pepitas, almonds & nuts

The resulting popcorn was light and crunchy – not sticky. It wasn’t too sweet and it had a hint of cayenne and a touch of salt. I leaned to more popcorn (12 cups opposed to 10 cups) and I loved it and surprisingly, Cornelius loved it too. I liked the triumvirate of nuts: pecans, pepitas, almonds. The pepitas especially were particularly rich and buttery and helped to make this popcorn off-the-hook amazing. This caramel corn also would makes a perfect gift in case you feel like sharing it around. Packed in a mason jar and tied with red and white twine it’s almost too cute to eat. Almost.

spiced caramel corn with pepitas, almonds & nuts

Don’t let the recipe length fool you. This is simple stuff and it’s worth every word and more. Pass it around or be rightfully greedy and stuff it into your face as soon as you can.

27 comments to “totally nuts: spiced caramel corn with pepitas, almonds & pecans”

  1. 1
    sara   November 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    This caramel corn sounds fantastic ! I love the sort with nuts in it, yum. 🙂

  2. 2
    Joanne   November 8, 2011 at 3:25 am

    I feel like the nuts are a key addition and that little extra fat they add does a lot to combat all that sweetness! I know I wouldn’t be able to resist digging into this, scoop after scoop!

  3. 3
    Amy (savory moments)   November 8, 2011 at 3:48 am

    Yum. This looks like such a great snack. I love caramel popcorn and the nuts and pepitas will only make it more addictive!

  4. 4
    becky   November 8, 2011 at 5:10 am

    yum, totally making this!!!!

  5. 5
    Foodess   November 8, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Yum! Looks amazing, I adore caramel corn! I think the pepitas would be perfect.

  6. 6
    Dana   November 8, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I’m always looking for good holiday treats to give as gifts (and eat of course). My mom, who is a very careful and healthy eater, would totally go off her perpetual diet for Poppycock, a overly sweet popcorn concoction that my dad would get as gifts every year. I’d love to make her the real stuff!

  7. 7
    Ashley   November 8, 2011 at 8:16 am

    That looks so good! I’ve been wanting to get an air popper and this is another good reason to. 🙂

  8. 8
    César Castro   November 8, 2011 at 9:07 am

    This looks really Yummi…

  9. 9
    Brandy   November 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

    YUM! My husband will love me if I make this for us on a stay in and watch a movie night! Perfect timing, it’s gotten so dark and cold in Vancouver and this will hit the spot.

  10. 10
    kickpleat   November 8, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Sara, me too – popcorn & nuts are the best.

    Joanne, agreed. And if you make this, you won’t be able to resist. It’s that good.

    Thanks Amy & Becky!

    The pepitas help make this extra special, I think. Thank you, Foodess!

    Dana, this is the perfect holiday treat! Make your mom a batch – she’ll love it. This is waaaaay better than Poppycock!!!

    Ashley, I love popcorn and couldn’t live without my air popper – but you could just as easily use stovetop or microwaved here.

    Thanks, César!

    Brandy, I know these cold Vancouver nights explicitly. Yes, perfection with a movie 🙂

  11. 11
    lo   November 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    The sweet/salty snack combo is always a winner with me, as is caramel corn of any sort. I love to add a pinch of chipotle pepper to ours (in lieu of cayenne). The smoky flavor is unbeatable 🙂

  12. 12
    renee@sweetsugarbean   November 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I’m totally going to a huge batch and give as presents for Christmas…if I don’t eat it all. Looks amazing. And who doesn’t love caramel corn?!!

  13. 13
    Bijoux   November 9, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I’m definitely going to make this one day. I make popcorn in a pot often so this would only be an extra delicious step. I just know I will eat too much and hate myself for it afterward but I just can’t deny myself this delicious pleasure 🙂 Hmm, I wonder if chipotle powder would work in the popcorn?

  14. 14
    kickpleat   November 9, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Lo, the chipotle sounds AMAZING! I’ll try that next time for sure.

    Renee, it’s the best Christmas gift. Only insane people don’t like caramel corn 🙂

    Bijoux, I made it for a party so people ate it up quickly – I did have some leftover that I had packed up in jars to give away so the temptation wasn’t there. Best to have back up friends who like to eat 🙂

  15. 15
    Lulu   November 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I love caramel corn — I will definitely try this one out!

  16. 16
    Peggy   November 10, 2011 at 5:51 am

    I love caramel corn but have been unable to come up with the perfect recipe. Actually a friend of ours in Alaska used to give us caramel corn each year but would not share the recipe… so I’ve been in caramel corn funk since our move 2 years ago! Aside from chocolate, its the only sweet I have loved since childhood but only if its really good! Once I pop out to pick up pecans (and figure out why the carpet in our boys’ room reeks!) this is on my list of things to make. Can’t wait to try it out!!

  17. 17
    Kathryn O   November 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Ooh, nice call on the pretty (and delicious) gifting idea! I like caramel corn a lot and I love your combination of salty and sweet with a little kick of spice. YUM!

  18. 18
    kickpleat   November 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Thanks Lulu, it’s the bomb.

    Peggy, I’m sure you’ll love this version – I really do think this is the perfect caramel corn recipe, hands down.

    Thanks Kathryn! It’s a keeper for sure 🙂

  19. 19
    Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)   November 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    It’s that time of year again for caramel popcorn! I love the way the house smells when I start baking this. I’m so excited about cooking this season!

  20. 20
    kickpleat   November 20, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Thanks so much Sarena for stopping by! Yes, the smell is amazing and so perfect for the holidays.

  21. 21
    Stephanie   November 21, 2011 at 7:28 am

    I’ve been looking for some edible xmas gifts for my friends and fam! I love the idea of putting them in mason jars too. Thanks!

  22. 22
    kickpleat   November 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Stephanie, I think everything looks better in mason jars. Such a great gift!

  23. 23
    Stephanie   December 19, 2021 at 8:22 am

    I’ve made this many times, yesterday was the first time I’ve made it in a few years. Still a winner! Every time I bring it to an event I get many requests for the recipe. I add more popcorn than stated (probably about 14-15 cups total), I do 1/4th + 1/8th r of cayenne for a level of spiciness that you can still taste but spice wimps (including me) can still enjoy it. Recipe doesn’t state when to add salt, I add it on the stove with the caramel. The spice the nuts (esp pepitas) make this much more special than caramel popcorn and festive enough for Christmas parties or gifts!

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