If you're a fan of Fireball Whisky (or used to be, because you had too much Fireball Whisky at some point), this popcorn's the stuff for you.
Like most families, my family has a bunch of things they make every year for Christmas, and cinnamon popcorn is one of them. We usually make a big ol' batch and give it out to neighbors, friends, mail delivery folks, etc — but only after we've gorged ourselves on too much of it, of course.
This cinnamon popcorn tastes like candy, and it's the perfect amount of sweet and salty that makes it super snack-able. It's one of my family's favorites for a reason.
- 8 quarts cooked popcorn (use stovetop method, not microwave. This equates to 3/4 cup uncooked kernels)
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 cups Red Hot candies (cinnamon candies)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp soda
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- For the stovetop popcorn, place a large pot with a lid on a burner at medium-high. Coat the bottom of the pan in 2 tbsp vegetable oil and place one popcorn kernel in the center of the pot. Place the lid on the pot. Once the kernel pops, add the rest of the popcorn kernels and turn the heat down to medium. As they start to pop, shake the pot continuously to avoid burning. Once most of it has popped, or the popping slows down, remove it from the burner and set aside.
- Once popcorn has cooled, spread it into one or two large roasting pans. Lining the pans with parchment paper is advisable.
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Fill large liquid measuring cup with Red Hots to the 2-cup line. Pour sugar over the candies to fill in the cracks, staying at 2 cups.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, syrup, candies, sugar and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring continuously, and boil for 5 minutes while still stirring often. Turn off burner and fold in baking soda and vanila.
- Pour the cinnamon mixture over the popcorn, coating it heavily but evenly, using a wooden spoon to make sure the mixture covers all the kernels. Work quickly, as the cinnamon will harden.
- Put the roasting pan(s) in the oven and bake for one hour, stirring popcorn every 15 minutes and breaking up chunks. Once cooled, break into pieces and store in airtight containers.
Photos and text © Katie Currid 2014.