I, like most people, have been seeing caramel or other sweet popcorn recipes all over. Recipes full of sugar, super-sweet and so not good for you. Now I’m not saying mine is any better for you, but mine does have real pumpkin in it, not just pumpkin spice. And it has the popcorn and pumpkin seeds. So technically, it’s not too bad. And not as sweet as those other sugar bombs. Here is my Vegan Not Too Sweet Pumpkin Caramel Popcorn.
First let me say that this was almost a fail – I had totally forgotten how hard it is not to burn kernels when popping on the stove. Cause I did. Then after I popped again and got it fine, I made the sauce and poured it over the popcorn – and it all deflated!!! Like melted right into the bowl into a bunch of ugly goo. It was gross. I almost gave up, threw in the towel. But no, I had to beat this and since I had just enough of everything left to make one more go of it I Googled how to not deflate your popcorn with hot liquid. The secret? Baking soda! Who would have thought – well some random article in Southern Living Magazine that’s who. So for a third time, I did it. And just a caveat? You will need to make a bigger bowl of popcorn then I made for this sauce – it was a little too much sauce for the amount of popcorn I popped, and the drying of the popcorn takes forever! I made it in the morning and it still wasn’t dry all the way through by night-time. So be ready to just let it hang out by itself to dry completely.
But it tasted so good. Not sweet like you would think it would with the brown sugar as the “caramel”. And I use that term loosely. It was the intention, but it was more of a saucy liquid so it didn’t clump like other people’s might have. But, I hope when you come to my little side of the blog world it’s not for sweets. I love them, and they love me, but I need to not love them so much! Anyways, this popcorn once completely “dried” was like a lightly flavored pumpkin pie. But you will definitely need more popcorn for this, I don’t think you can have too much popcorn for this amount of liquid. It went farther than I thought it would. Which is a good thing!
Pop your popcorn – try not to burn – after making this with just 1/4 cup of kernels I would say to pop an entire cup. Not all kernels will pop. After popped pour into a bowl, then use your hands to scoop popped corn into another bowl – this may seem weird but by doing this you are making sure no unpopped kernels end up in the finished product. In a small sauce pan add brown sugar and almond milk. Turn to medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil, whisking the entire time. Do not stop whisking; if needed, turn down heat so it won’t boil over. Let boil about 5 minutes then take off heat and add pumpkin puree, spice, and vanilla and put back on heat and keep whisking. Boil another couple of minutes. Take off heat and add baking soda. Pour salty pumpkin seeds over popcorn then pour sauce over and fold in with a spatula. Spread over a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 5 minutes. Take out and lift sides of parchment to break up popcorn then put back in oven 5 more minutes. Take out and pull parchment off baking sheet and set on a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
1 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
1/4 C Popcorn Kernels
1/4 C Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 C Silk Light Vanilla Almond Milk
1/4 C Pumpkin Puree
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Pumpkin Spice
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 C SuperSeedz Sea Salt Pumpkin Seeds
2. In a large pot add oil and turn to medium heat – do not go higher or it will burn quickly. Pour in kernels then put lid on. Shake the pot so kernels all get oiled then continue to stand and shake and rattle the pot. You may need to lift it off the burner and let air out of the pot, but continue to shake until popping slows. When done immediately pour out of pot. It will burn if left in the pot.
3. Use your hands to gently move popped corn to another bowl – make sure unpopped kernels end up at the bottom of the first bowl; throw away unpopped kernels. Add pumpkin seeds to popcorn.
4. In a small pot add brown sugar and almond milk. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Whisk for about 5 minutes – you are only trying to reduce this a little.
6. Add baking soda and whisk. Pour mixture over popcorn and seeds.
7. Use a spatula to fold everything together. Pour onto baking sheet and spread out.
8. Bake for 5 minutes then take out and lift the sides of parchment paper to break up popcorn. Put back in oven 5 more minutes.
9. Take out and slide parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool completely. You may need to break up the more wet pieces to dry. It will take a long time to cool.