Salted caramel popcorn perfect for holiday 'grazing'

This time of year my family tends to have one big meal together and the rest of the day we snack.

We affectionately call our snacking around the kitchen table “grazing.” Of course, it's not the healthiest choice, but January diets are just a few weeks away, right?

Fruits and vegetables always grace the spread, but there's a good amount of sweet and savory nibbles, too. My favorite is today's recipe, Salted Caramel Popcorn. And it's easy to make your own.

All you need are a few basic ingredients and a bag of light microwave popcorn. (Or, if you prefer, you can pop the corn in the traditional way.) Baking the caramel popcorn in a slow oven (250 degrees) for over an hour and stirring every 15 minutes gives it just the right amount of caramel goodness without it becoming too candied. You can add any variety of nuts if you choose (about 3/4 cup per batch is just right).

Whether you like to graze or you just want a sweet and salty snack, you're going to love Salted Caramel Popcorn. Enjoy!

• Alicia Ross is the co-author of “Desperation Dinners!” Contact her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send an email to Or visit the Kitchen Scoop website at

© Alicia Ross

Salted Caramel Popcorn

12 cups popped corn (unsalted, light or no butter)

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a large jellyroll pan with foil and place the popped corn in a single layer on the foil.

Combine brown sugar, butter, oil, vanilla, salt and baking soda in a 2-cup, microwave-safe glass measure. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and whisk well. Microwave for another 20 to 30 seconds or until mixture foams. Drizzle immediately over the popcorn.

Bake for 15 minutes, then stir and toss well. Repeat baking and stirring every 15 minutes for a total baking time of one hour. Cool for 5 minutes on pan and then serve or store in a sealed container for up to 2 days.

Start to finish: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: makes about 24 (½ cup) servings

Approximate values per ½ cup: 450 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated), 5 mg cholesterol, 12 g protein, 87 g carbohydrates, 20 g dietary fiber, 1,450 mg sodium.

Homemade snacking goodness.
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