I was recently sent a catalog from Popcornopolis. They’re offering a seasonal caramel corn that is red velvet inspired. A 2-gallon container goes for $49.99. I thought it would be a nice idea to develop a similar recipe, not knowing what ingredients they use. OMG! Now I know why it goes for that price! Plain, it’s such a delicious snack! However, when topped with the creamy topping that I created, this red velvet popcorn is just incredible! I predict that their product and this recipe will be the talk of the holiday season and continue to be popular thereafter. The combination is truly incredible.
Feedback From My Husband’s Co-Workers:
UPDATE Dec. 18, 2016 – When my husband brought the red velvet caramel corn to work, he received phenomenal feedback. “It all disappeared so quickly,” he said, sounding disappointed. I promised him that I would make more.
No. This recipe does not contain nuts. However, it has a bit of a nutty flavor though it does not contain any nuts. It’s simply wonderful! I’ve never tasted anything like it.
No. While it looks like the creamy white coating would be messy, it’s not. It sets up nicely. You can grab a piece of caramel corn without any mess to your hands, and the caramel corn does not stick together either.
How Long Does It Keep?
I made this recipe late Monday evening. He brought it to work the following day. The coating stayed firm all morning in his office. When he left for a business luncheon, he placed it on the reception area. When he got back, he wanted his customer to taste it because it was that good. The receptionist said that she had to move it because she was eating too much. She placed in the break room. He checked in there, but it was all gone. That just doesn’t normally happen with sweets in his office. So, I’m guessing that people find it addictive!
See variations in the Tips section if you’re not a food coloring fan.
Red Velvet Popcorn – Caramel Corn (or Chocolate or Traditional)
Red velvet meets popcorn meets addiction! The red velvet popcorn alone is pretty amazing, but when topped with the creamy white confection, it's incredible!
- 8 - 10 cups popped popcorn (I use Arrowhead Mills organic yellow popcorn, microwaved in this bowl)
For the Popcorn:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter*
- 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons gluten free Dutch-processed cocoa powder - Rodelle (or regular (Hershey's or Ghirardelli)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon AmeriColor Soft Gel Super Red Food Coloring (optional)
For Making Well in Advance (without cream cheese):
- 1 recipe Melted Chocolate
For the Creamy White Chocolate Topping Used at Home:
- 1 recipe Melted Chocolate
- 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum; you may also use Nutvia coconut-palm blend)
- 2 tablespoons gluten free cream cheese, at room temperature (Philadelphia)
- 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- White gluten free gel food coloring - AmeriColor (optional), to desired color
- Place popcorn in a large bowl, large enough to add caramel sauce and stir. Line two baking sheets or a larger roasting pan with baking mats or lightly oil; set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºF.
- In a medium-size saucepan, cook the butter, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Boil for 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 minutes or until it reaches 240ºF. Be sure all sumelts. If it's not near melt d, reduce heat until it is.
- Immediately remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and then the food coloring. Pour over the popped popcorn and toss gently until all of the popcorn is coated.
- Evenly distribute the coated popcorn between the prepared baking sheets, in a single layer. Bake in the oven for three 20 minute intervals, stirring between intervals, for a total of 60 minutes.
- Place two sheets of wax paper, each about two feet long, on your counter. Place two butter or steak knives on the counter as well.
- When the popcorn is done, distribute between the two sheets of wax paper. Using the two knives, separate the caramel corn as quickly as possible, before it sets. Once it cools off, use your fingers as it may be faster. Switch between the two sheets of wax paper as you may not have to separate them all. Allow to cool completely 45 - 60 minutes. (If you taste it prior to cooling completely, it will be too chewy. Afterward, it is crunchy and has a nutty flavor.)
To Make the Melted White Chocolate:
- Follow the instructions provided at the above link. Using the squeeze bottle, add stripes of white chocolate along the cooled popcorn. Allow to completely set before packaging.
To Make the Topping or Dip:
- Make the melted chocolate recipe at the above link. Immediately stir in the shortening until it completely melts. Immediately combine it with the powdered sugar and cream cheese. I mixed it using my hand/immersion blender. You can also use a small food processor or hand mixer. Using a butter knife, allow the mixture to drip across the cooled popcorn. Don't be afraid to stack it in a bowl. It's less messy than eating nachos. The texture is similar to melted marshmallows. Store leftovers in an air-tight container.
For traditional caramel corn: omit the cocoa powder and food coloring.
For chocolate caramel corn: omit the red food coloring.
On any variation, feel free to omit the topping or switch the white chocolate for bittersweet. Be sure it is gluten free.
*European unsalted butter works the best as it containers a high ratio of fat.
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