Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn & a Video

A recipe from my latest cookbook: crunchy caramel corn inspired by sticky and sweet cinnamon buns. The true definition of addicting.

A recipe from Sally's Candy Addiction cookbook: crunchy caramel corn inspired by sticky and sweet cinnamon buns. The true definition of addicting!

Almost the weekend! Hope you’re having a great week. I just looked at my calendar and it’s already Halloween at the end of next week? What is going on. Fall is way, way, wayyyyyyy too short. Not enough time to soak up all this beauty.

I’m off to San Francisco tomorrow for my friends’ wedding. They are getting married in a redwood park– and I’ll be sure to snap lots of pictures. San Fran readers: no book signing events there this weekend, but I’ll be back in February!

Can’t wait to meet you.

A recipe from Sally's Candy Addiction cookbook: crunchy caramel corn inspired by sticky and sweet cinnamon buns. The true definition of addicting!

I don’t have plans to share any recipes from my new cookbook on my blog– but HAD to share this particular one with you. Today’s recipe is one I created for Sally’s Candy Addiction when I was working on my manuscript at the end of last year.

Side note: Remember the day I finished it? What a beast. It was 49,000 words! My fingers ache and palms sweat thinking about it.

Now that the book is out in stores and you’re learning how to make candy, let’s chat about one of my favorite recipes from the book: my Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn on page 130. This sticky and sweet caramel corn is packed with a whole lotta crunch and plenty of cozy flavor. We’re talking cinnamon, white chocolate, butter, vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel coming together in every single bite.

Is that not the most glorious round-up of flavors? My mouth is watering.

This recipe was inspired by, you guessed it, a warm caramel sticky bun drenched in vanilla glaze. So much love for this caramel corn!

A recipe from Sally's Candy Addiction cookbook: crunchy caramel corn inspired by sticky and sweet cinnamon buns. The true definition of addicting!

See all the cinnamon specks? 😍

Today’s caramel corn recipe is similar to my late grandmother’s recipe, a total classic I posted around her birthday last year. We make that recipe every single year around the holidays. I wanted something similar to publish in my new cookbook and this cinnamon bun flavored goodness came to life.

This recipe is so easy.

  1. Make an easy caramel sauce. No candy thermometer needed.
  2. Pour caramel over popcorn.
  3. Bake. (–> this step is what makes it soooo chewy and crunchy!)
  4. Drizzle with white chocolate because WHY NOT?

For your viewing pleasure:

Thank you Five Story Media team for helping me shoot the video!

All ingredients in candy recipes serve a particular purpose, much like baking recipes. It’s not like cooking where you can add or take away an ingredient and still have the dish turn out fine. No, no, no. In candy-making and baking, everything plays a part in the finished recipe’s structure, flavor, and texture. That being said, I know some of you might be a little curious about the use of baking soda in this caramel corn recipe. It’s not included just for kicks– the baking soda serves an imperative role. And here’s what it does:

Nerd Alert.

Baking soda’s job in the caramel is to react with the acid (the brown sugar and corn syrup). This reaction creates tiny carbon dioxide air bubbles. You’ll see this reaction happening in step 2 of the written recipe below. The caramel sauce bubbles and foams up once the baking soda is added. Once the caramel has cooled on your popcorn, the air bubbles inside the caramel create a softer texture. This softer texture means you won’t be breaking your teeth on rock-hard caramel. Rather, the caramel on this caramel corn is chewy with a slight crunch.

Get it? Caramel is chemistry!

Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn-- Sally's Candy Addiction Cookbook recipe

I’ll take the whole bowl and then some. Photo from the book! ↑ ↑

Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn

A recipe from my latest cookbook: crunchy caramel corn inspired by sticky sweet cinnamon buns. The true definition of addicting.

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups (56g) air-popped popcorn1
  • 1 cup (215g) tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (114g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 ounces (170g) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Special Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Spread the popcorn out onto 2 large baking sheets-- or 1 if it all fits! Set aside.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a medium heavy-duty saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until butter has melted. Next, bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. Once boiling, stop stirring. Allow to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda. The caramel will immediately foam and bubble (see above for why!). Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss gently until all of the popcorn is coated.
  3. Bake caramel corn for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Allow to cool on the pan(s), then break apart any large clusters. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or microwave (stop and stir every 10 seconds if using a microwave), then drizzle over caramel corn. Allow to cool.
  4. Make ahead tip: This caramel corn tastes great for up to 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container. Wonderful recipe to make ahead of time for holidays and entertaining.

Recipe Notes:

  1. If you do not have a popcorn maker at home, you can simply add 3 tablespoons of popcorn kernels to a brown paper bag. Seal the bag tightly by folding over the top.  Microwave the popcorn for approximately 1 minute, 45 seconds on High, or up to 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.  This method will make 5 cups, so you'll have to do it twice. Alternatively, you can use natural-style microwave popcorn that has no butter added to it.

This content is copyrighted to Sally's Candy Addiction cookbook.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. And if you want to follow along on my book tour, find me on snapchat: sallysbakeblog. 

You have to try my peanut butter caramel corn!

Salty, sweet, sticky, and easy to make Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

How about some salted caramel chocolate chip cheesecakes this week too?

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes

Some of the product links are affiliate links. These are brands of candy making tools that I trust and encourage you to use in the kitchen as well!

A recipe from Sally's Candy Addiction cookbook: crunchy caramel corn inspired by sticky and sweet cinnamon buns. The true definition of addicting!
A recipe from Sally's Candy Addiction cookbook: crunchy caramel corn inspired by sticky and sweet cinnamon buns. The true definition of addicting!

54 comments

  1. Hi Sally!  I’m planning on making several batches of this popcorn this weekend but I don’t have a popcorn maker.  I saw your tips for the microwave but wondered if I could do it the old-fashioned way – in a heavy bottomed pot with canola oil and a tight fitting lid.  Any difference in the final outcome?

  2. Sally, I love your recipes and have not been disappointed by any of them so far (I also love that you use grams which makes life so much easier for us Europeans). I can’t wait to make your crack popcorn for our next girls night and wondered if there is a good substitute for corn syrup as it is not readily available in the UK.

    Thanks so much!

    • Sarah, it’s imperative in the caramel unfortunately! Making candy is so particular and you need its chemical properties for the caramel to set properly.

    • The substitute for corn syrup is golden syrup in the UK; it should work the same.  I am American but went to school in England and remember the lack of corn syrup and we always substituted golden syrup (the one in the green can).  GOod luck!

  3. I know that Sally keep saying that there re no substitutes available but I made the popcorn with unsalted margarine.  IT turned out PERFECT.  I always substitute parve/non dairy margarine for butter for kosher reasons.  If you’re not sure if something will work, and you are pretty experienced in the kitchen, give it a try; what’s the worst that will happen?  But if it works then…heaven!

  4. I have to say that stirring sticky caramel corn on a cookie sheet might just be my least favorite cooking activity, but I’ve done it twice in 2 days because this recipe is just TOO good! I made a batch last night for a party and realized that I had none to snack on or share with my family, so batch number 2 just came out of the oven. This one is a winner! Thanks!

  5. Hi Sally! 
    Love this recipe and caramel corn in general but I continue to have problems with the texture of my caramel corn. Although I’ve made it and it’s come out perfectly, the last few times I’ve made caramel corn the caramel has hardened and become quite grainy? I followed this recipe to a T, even timing exactly how long to boil the caramel. Do you think I may have had the heat too high and this caused it to cook more? Thank you! 

    • That *could* be the issue. Honestly, weather has a lot to do with cooking caramel as well. Turn down the heat a bit and try constantly whisking as it heats.

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