weather icon Clear

Divas on a Dime: One delicious recipe, two treats, but no tricks

Well, maybe there’s a little trick to this caramel corn. We’re going to sneak in the perfect amount of pumpkin pie spice and salt to make an autumn snack that’s crunchy, sweet, salty and ridiculously addictive.

Can you believe we’re into the holiday season already? As we prepare to climb up a few notches on the crazy scale we need an easy, inexpensive recipe that works as party food all season long.

If you’re having a harvest-themed gathering everyone will love the pumpkin spice caramel corn. Homemade is so much better than anything you can find at the store. When Halloween rolls around, you can add food coloring to take the virtuous caramel corn and reincarnate it as the delightfully disgusting “Ogre Oogies”.


Prep Time: 15 minutes – Bake Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 20 cups

What You’ll Need:

2/3 cup unpopped popcorn kernels (about 20 cups popped corn)

1 cup salted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons vanilla

Here’s How:

Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. Pop the popcorn kernels using an air popper into a very large bowl.

If you don’t have an air popper, (you should get one!) you can use a plain brown paper lunch bag in the microwave. Place 1/3 cup unpopped kernels in a brown paper bag. Fold the top over a few times; microwave on high for about two and a half minutes, or until the popping slows (the exact time will depend on your microwave). You’ll need to do this twice, possibly three times to get your 20 cups of popped corn. As a last resort, use four or five bags of prepared microwave popcorn and eliminate the salt in the caramel. It’s all good.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, corn syrup and salt together. Stir to incorporate and bring to boil. Boil for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. If you’re making green Ogre Oogies add about 20 drops of green food coloring to the caramel and stir to evenly distribute the coloring. Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and working quickly, toss with two large spoons to coat evenly.

Spread the popcorn evenly onto the lined pan and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Watch for scorching the last time you stir and adjust time accordingly if necessary. Don’t let it burn. When baked, spread the popcorn out into bite sized clusters to cool on a parchment lined counter. This will make it very crunchy. Store in airtight container. Divine!

While this recipe is delicious as written you could choose to add other goodies like pecans, peanuts, or pepitas. You can add your favorite breakfast cereal to the popcorn when you add the caramel and bake it all together. You can also form the caramel coated popcorn into popcorn balls, if you wish.

Fabulous Food by Patti Diamond from “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” – www.divasonadime.com Join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Divas on a Dime: Spoil Dad with BBQ ribs for Father’s Day

Sunday is Father’s Day. If you’re like most households, you’ll gather and share a meal in honor of dear old Dad. While it may be difficult to decide what gifts to get him, you can’t go wrong serving him barbeque. Especially barbequed ribs.

Divas on a Dime: Easy chocolate truffle needs only three ingredients

Now that our local Farmer’s Market is open for the summer, my teenaged son goes every week. He’s especially fond of an artisan chocolatier who makes delectable chocolate truffles. The chocolates come in four varieties, and he buys one of each and savors them all week long. I was floored to find he’s been paying $2.50 for about an ounce of chocolate. That’s a $10 a week chocolate habit!

Divas on a Dime: Versatile dish is mere pennies per serving

Polenta is a delicious dish made from ground corn that can be an appetizer, side or main dish, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can be sweet or savory. Served soft, like mashed potatoes, or cooled and sliced into pieces. It can even be baked crisp into fries!

Divas on a Dime: Demystifying the science of smoke for BBQ season

We’re about to enjoy a glorious three-day weekend. Memorial Day is our opportunity to honor the brave men and women who gave their lives serving in the armed forces. We celebrate their memory with friends and loved ones. Where people gather, there shall be food. Let’s make sure it’s good food!