Trick or Treat? This spicy caramel popcorn from Centennial Celebrations is both.

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As the weather gets colder, we thought what better time to share this tasty autumnal treat from our sixth Junior League of Denver cookbook, Centennial Celebrations.

Slow-Burn Caramel Popcorn
Centennial Celebrations
Serves: 6

  • 1⁄2 cup butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 20 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • 10 cups premium popped corn

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan with high sides over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, hot sauce, cayenne pepper and salt using a wooden spoon. Cook until smooth, stirring constantly. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the mixture reaches the hard ball stage (250 degrees at sea level; subtract 1 degree for every 500 feet of altitude) without stirring; large bubbles should form over the entire surface. Remove from the heat. Stir in the food coloring; mixture may spatter.

Place the popcorn in an extra-large bowl. Pour the brown sugar mixture carefully over the popcorn and fold in using a rubber spatula; do not overmix. Spread on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour or to hard-crack stage, stirring every 15 minutes. Let stand to cool completely. Break into chunks. Store, covered, in a dry place.

Learn more about Centennial Celebrations.