I'm not hiding my sweet tooth over here. If I'm given a choice between regular old popcorn and caramel popcorn, I'm going for the latter - 100 percent of the time. So I recently decided to make my own vegan caramel corn. And, it being the holiday season and all, I thought it appropriate to dress up that vegan caramel corn with festive paper cones.
While this caramel corn and festive paper cone combo works great for Christmas, it could work all year round. Just use different paper to suit your special occasion - it could be a birthday, Valentine's Day or simply an evening spent at home cuddling up by the fireplace to watch a movie. These would be fun to serve to guests on New Year's Eve as well.
I was inspired to create this recipe and the paper cone by an article I saw in an old issue of Today's Parent. (I have thrown out hundreds of magazines over the past year and only skimmed a small portion of them. I'm glad I stopped to browse through this one.)
It's super easy and quick to make your own vegan caramel corn. I used vegan margarine in place of butter and agave nectar in lieu of corn syrup. The first step is simply to pop some popcorn using your popcorn maker. And how fun is it watching the popcorn come out?
Then you mix up the simple caramel ingredients - brown sugar, margarine, agave nectar and salt - in a pot over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has boiled for a couple of minutes, whisk in vanilla and baking soda. Voila, you have your caramel sauce. Pour it over your popcorn and bake it. That's all she wrote! (Read on for the full recipe.)
Except for those paper cones of course. While the caramel corn is baking, you can start making your paper cones.
Materials needed for festive paper cones:
- Paper (I used paper from a pad of "holiday cheer" papers I got at Michaels. The packaging doesn't say how thick the paper is, but it's on the thicker side.)
- Wax paper
- Scotch Tape
- Washi Tape or Stickers
- Pencil & Ruler to cut paper to size
Cut a square of paper that's 22 cm on each side. Cut a piece of wax paper to be slightly smaller than the paper. (That makes it easier to roll your cone.) Lay the design side of the paper face down and lay the wax paper on top, with a corner of both papers pointing towards you. Fold the left side towards the right and vice versa, while rolling the paper into a cone.
This ain't rocket science. Just monkey around with the paper until you like the look of the cone. Once you like the shape, secure it with a bit of tape. Cut a piece of ribbon to tie around the cone in a bow. Fill with popcorn, fold the top over and secure with tape, plus washi tape to prettify the whole thing a bit more. You can also close your paper popcorn cone with a sticker (your own customized label would be nice).
There's just something so fun about eating caramel corn out of a pretty paper cone.
Making the paper cones is a good diy activity to do with older children, especially if you tell them they get to eat caramel corn at the end. My kids loved the "buttery" sweet vegan caramel corn and my husband admired the "authentic" caramel corn taste.
And you know I loved it...cuz I have that sweet tooth to feed and all. This is sure to be a family-favourite recipe for the upcoming cold winter nights.
What about you? Salty or sweet? How much do you love caramel corn?
Vegan Caramel Corn
Keywords: vegan Christmas
Ingredients (6 to 8 servings)
- 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegan margarine
- 1/4 cup agave nectar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pop the popcorn kernels into a large bowl using a popcorn popper.
In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, combine brown sugar, margarine, agave nectar and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it boil for about two minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, cook until it reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whisk in vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will foam up and look like caramel.
Being careful not to burn yourself with the hot caramel, pour caramel quickly over popcorn. Stir to coat the popcorn. (It doesn't have to coat the popcorn fully at this point as that will happen in the oven.)
Pour the popcorn onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring to redistribute the caramel after 7 minutes. You want the caramel to coat the popcorn and bubble slightly but watch that it doesn't burn.
Let cool on baking sheet. Once cool the caramel corn can be stored in an airtight container.
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