Bourbon Pecan Praline Popcorn adds the irresistible southern pizzazz of pralines to basic caramel corn. Think pecan pralines flavored with a hint of Bourbon combined with crunchy popcorn to produce a sweet, crispy, and addictive treat.
Why Should Make This Awesome Treat
Bourbon Pecan Praline Popcorn is a yummy munch for tailgating, movie nights on the couch, Halloween parties, or any time you want to impress your family and friends. Even better, it will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to a week if it lasts that long.
If you’ve never made caramel corn, you might be intimidated by the thought of making the caramel. However, making the caramel is super simple with ingredients you probably already have.
All you need to do is to heat butter, light brown sugar, light corn syrup, and a bit of salt over medium heat. When the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat, stand back and wait 5 minutes – no muss, no fuss.
With the holidays just around the corner, you might consider packaging the Bourbon Pecan Praline Popcorn in decorative treat bags for homemade gifts!
Ingredients: Here’s What You’ll Need
The ingredients for this yummy treat are typical of regular caramel corn, with two exceptions.
First, as the name implies, the caramel is flavored with Bourbon. The Bourbon doesn’t result in a boozy taste but rather a subtle undertone that makes you go WOW!
Second, I’ve added toasted pecans instead of the regular peanuts. After all, it wouldn’t be Pecan Praline Popcorn without the South’s favorite nut!
The Popcorn and Pecans
My preference for the popcorn is to make my own using the technique in my Skinny Microwave Popcorn in a Paper Bag.
First, I poured the unpopped kernels into a brown sandwich bag. Then, I folded the top three times.
Next, I placed the bag in my microwave with the fold-down and chose the popcorn setting. Invariably, I add another minute or so after the popcorn cycle has ended to ensure that the maximum number of kernels has popped.
After the popcorn had finished popping, I poured it onto a wire cooling rack that I’d placed on a rimmed baking sheet. The reason for doing this is that the unpopped kernels drop down to the baking sheet leaving only popped corn behind!
After the popcorn was ready, I transferred it to a large bowl. Then, I poured the toasted pecans on top of the popcorn.
I didn’t stir the two together at this point. The reason was that the pecans were heavier than the popcorn, and I wanted to be sure to coat the pecans with the caramel.
Making the Caramel
As I previously indicated, it’s super simple to make the caramel.
First, I added the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt to a small saucepan over medium heat.
I stirred the mixture occasionally until the butter had melted and the mixture had come to a boil.
Once the mixture had come to a boil, I lowered the heat to medium-low. I let it continue to boil undisturbed and uncovered for five minutes.
After five minutes, I removed the pan from the heat. Then, I added the Bourbon and baking soda.
I stirred the mixture for about a minute to ensure that everything was well incorporated. I had to be careful here because the mixture bubbled up quite a bit with the addition of the baking soda.
Finishing the Bourbon Pecan Praline Popcorn
Once the caramel was ready, I poured it onto the popcorn and pecans. Then, I stirred the mixture to begin coating the popcorn and pecans.
I didn’t have to worry too much about the popcorn and pecans being coated in caramel at this point, which I’ll explain in a minute.
I dumped the bourbon pecan praline popcorn into a large disposable aluminum roasting pan and spread it out.
I placed the bourbon pecan praline popcorn into a preheated 250°F oven for one hour. During the hour, I stirred the mixture every 15 minutes.
Stirring the mixture helped to evenly coat the popcorn and the pecans with caramel that was still melted from the oven heat.
After an hour, I poured the Bourbon Pecan Praline Popcorn onto a piece of parchment paper for it to cool.
The popcorn and pecans were still somewhat sticky when they first came out of the oven. However, as they cooled, the popcorn and pecans dried out and were perfectly crunchy.
I had a delightful and crunchy treat that I couldn’t stop eating. The Bourbon Pecan Praline Popcorn was truly addictive with the subtle hint of Bourbon combined with the sweetness of the caramel. You should try it. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
I would avoid using store-bought microwavable popcorn. The reason is that the strongish taste will clash with the delicate flavor of the caramel. You could, however, use unflavored SkinnyPop that can be purchased at the grocery store.
It would be all right to pop the kernels in oil on the stovetop. I would, however, avoid salting the popped corn.
You can replace the Bourbon with two teaspoons of vanilla extract if you would prefer that the Bourbon not be used. This way, it would just be Pecan Praline Popcorn!
Alkaline baking soda reacts with brown sugar and corn syrup, which are acidic. The reaction creates lots of tiny carbon dioxide air bubbles. These air bubbles keep the caramel from getting hard, resulting in a softer texture.
Other Delicious Caramel-Based Treats
Once you see how easy it is to make the caramel for this delicious Bourbon Pecan Praline Popcorn, you might be interested in other options. Here are a few options:
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Bourbon Pecan Praline Popcorn
- 2 cups (8-ounces) pecan halves, toasted (See Tip 1)
- 8 cups popped popcorn (See Tip 2)
- ¾ cup (5.625-ounces) light brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup (1 stick, 4-ounces) unsalted butter (See Tip 3)
- ¼ cup (2.75-ounces) light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons bourbon (See Tip 4)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Add the popcorn to a large bowl. Add pecans on top. Do not mix at this point. Set aside.
- Heat the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter is melted. Reduce heat to medium low; cook, undisturbed and uncovered, for 5 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in bourbon and baking soda. Be careful here because the baking soda will cause the caramel to boil up significantly.
- Pour the caramel over the popcorn and pecans; quickly stir to coat.
- Spread the mixture onto an ungreased large disposable aluminum pan (15-3/16 x 11-5/16 x 2-⅞ inches). Bake for one hour, removing every 15 minutes to stir. (See Tip 5)
- Spread the mixture onto parchment paper to cool. It may seem sticky at first but will dry as it cools.
- Yield: 10 cups. (See Tip 6)
Chula’s Expert Tips
- Toasting pecans greatly enhances their flavor. To toast pecans, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Watch closely to ensure that the pecans do not become over-toasted.
- It’s best to use popcorn with no flavor added like unflavored SkinnyPop popcorn. I like to pop my corn in a brown paper bag in the microwave with nothing added. I typically use 6 tablespoons of kernels when I make my own popcorn in the paper bag.
- You can use salted butter rather than unsalted butter in the caramel. However, omit adding any additional salt.
- You can substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract for the bourbon – this way it would be Pecan Praline Popcorn.
- The reason that I use a disposable aluminum roasting pan is that the caramel can stick to the pan from the baking making cleanup somewhat of a chore. This way, I just toss the pan in the trash. You could, however, use a large-rimmed baking sheet lined with nonstick aluminum foil instead.
- The Bourbon Pecan Praline Popcorn will stay fresh for up to a week if stored in an airtight container.