Honey vanilla popcorn? What is that? Well, it’s a healthy version of caramel popcorn. It’s healthy because it doesn’t include corn syrup or refined sugar. This recipe uses four ingredients and they’re all unrefined: butter, honey, vanilla, and salt.
I don’t make homemade treats very often, mostly because by the time I’ve made breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner for my family, I have no motivation to make dessert. Another reason is because I don’t use refined sugar and refined flour very often and most desserts call for both.
But, I have a new goal to make a homemade treat once a week for Family Home Evening. And while I’m not opposed to having a good old sugary chocolate chip cookie once in a while, I’d rather save that stuff for special occasions like birthdays and holidays. For the once a week FHE I’m going to make healthier treats. So for tonight, I made this honey vanilla popcorn. And I really like it!
There are two different ways you can make this “caramel” popcorn. One way is to stick it in the oven and bake it for an hour. This baked version leaves you with crispy popcorn that tastes like Cracker Jacks (but without the sugar, corn syrup, soybean oil, and soy lecithin). Oh yeah, and no peanuts. Although you could add peanuts if you’d like. The other way is to just let the popcorn cool after you’ve poured the honey/vanilla mixture over it without baking it. This version leaves you with soft, buttery popcorn. My husband likes it better cooked, but
I like it better soft. You can even do half cooked and half soft and then mix those together. I’ve done that too and it’s really good!
I like to use pastured butter in this recipe. Pastured butter comes from cows that spend their days eating grass in a pasture. Learn more about the benefits of using pastured butter here. Some brands that I like include Organic Valley Butter and Kalona SuperNatural. I also like to use unrefined sea salt because it’s full of healthy minerals and doesn’t have additives. Learn more about the health benefits of unrefined sea salt here. My favorite brand of sea salt is Real Salt.
Dave bought us this cheap popcorn air popper a few months back and it’s been great. Ben loves to watch the popcorn shoot out of that thing. I also like to use organic popcorn kernels like these from the Great Northern Popcorn Company. If you use these high-quality real food ingredients, you’ll have a healthy “caramel” popcorn that tastes really, really good.
- ½ cup popcorn kernels (roughly 4 quarts popped)
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Pop the popcorn kernels in an air popper.
- Separate the popcorn into two large bowls for easy stirring.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and honey and stir over medium heat until melted.
- Stir in the vanilla extract and salt until combined.
- Remove saucepan from heat.
- Pour half of the mixture over the popcorn in one bowl and half into the other.
- Stir to coat all pieces.
- Spread the popcorn onto two cookie sheets with a lip.
- Bake in the oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before eating.
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