Homemade “Moose Munch” Honey Caramel Corn

Homemade Moose Munch Honey Caramel Corn - An Oregon Cottage

This homemade “Moose Munch” caramel corn made with honey instead of corn syrup is probably the most popular Christmas treat that we give to our family and friends. I had to share it for two reasons:

  1. Everyone tells me their family fights over this holiday treat and they have to make sure it’s equally distributed to keep the peace.
  2. I can only make this one time a year or I will eat it all in a sitting, e-hem.

Anything that good deserves a place in the Christmas line-up.

Bowl of Homemade Moose Munch Honey Caramel Corn - An Oregon Cottage

Since some people shy away from making caramel corn (you know, hot syrup, candy thermometers and all that), I’m going to walk you through the steps so you can see how easy it is- really. And here are two things you won’t find in my recipe (that I adapted from a recipe in Brian’s Kansas grandmother’s vintage “Farm Journal” cookbook!):

  • corn syrup
  • candy thermometers

So now there really are no excuses. Except for all the sugar and butter part, but we won’t bother about that right now, okay?

How to Easily Make Caramel Corn

1. The first step is simply to pop some popcorn. I use an air popper because it’s easy. You can make it however you choose.

2. Then spread it in a large, oiled roasting pan. The most important thing to remember, though is this:

2.a. Leave all the unpopped kernels and “old maids” in the bowl when you transfer the popcorn to the pan. Your teeth (and your family’s teeth) will thank you.

3. Now set the pan of popcorn in a 250 degree oven to warm while making the caramel.

4. To make the caramel, place the butter, sugars, and honey in a large saucepan set over medium heat and melt it together.

5. Stir until you start to see some gentle bubbles on the surface, similar to the picture (I really tried to get a picture of this, but the light and camera weren’t cooperating, though I think it’s close). 

6. When you see the gentle bubbles, set a timer for 5 minutes.

7. Continue to stir for the full 5 minutes. The mixture will start boiling a bit harder, but never get crazy on you. However, I always make caramel in a large (4-qt) saucepan, just to give it all the room it might need. I have no spits or overflows with this, though you should take care, because it’s hot and will burn at this point (not that you wouldn’t have figured that out – I just want to cover all the bases).

8. When the timer goes off (see? no thermometers!) remove the pan of popcorn from the oven and pour the caramel mixture over the popped corn. Mix with a large spoon until most of the popcorn is evenly coated.

9. Place the pan in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, stir the pan of caramel corn again and then return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Prep a counter space with two large pieces of waxed paper or parchment.

10. Immediately pour the hot caramel corn onto the waxed paper, spreading it out over the paper to cool. Cool completely, and then break into as small pieces as possible.

Ta da- you’ve made caramel corn!

Homemade Honey Caramel Corn - Moose Munch Variation from An Oregon Cottage

How to make Moose Munch Caramel Corn:

1. Divide the cooled caramel corn in half. Place one half in an airtight container. Place the other half in a large bowl.

2. Melt 12 oz. of chocolate chips (you can use any chocolate you’d like: milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate), pour over the caramel corn in the bowl and mix thoroughly.

3. Spread the chocolate-covered caramel corn back onto the waxed paper and use a couple of forks to separate the pieces as much as you can so that it will be easier to distribute the chocolate corn with the plain caramel corn.

4. Let it sit until hardened completely (I usually let it sit overnight, covered with plastic or wax paper).

5. When the chocolate is firm, mix it together with the plain caramel corn.

Moose Munch Honey Caramel Corn Gift Bag - An Oregon Cottage

I recommend that you bag it up as fast as you can.

PRINT

Homemade “Moose Munch” Honey Caramel Corn

Honey Caramel Corn:

  • 2/3 c. unpopped popcorn
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar (you could probably use all sucanat in place of both sugars- then end product might be a bit grainier, but still good!)
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

For the “Moose Munch” variation:*

  • 12 oz. chocolate chips of choice- milk, semisweet, or dark (or other melting chocolate)
  1. Make the Caramel Corn (good on it’s own, too!): Heat oven to 250 degrees. Pop the popcorn and spread it in a large, oiled roasting pan. Put the pan in the oven to stay warm and crisp (it also helps to spread the hot caramel evenly on warm popcorn).
  2. Combine the butter, sugars, honey, and salt in a large saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir while mixture melts and starts gently bubbling. Set a timer for 5 minutes and stir constantly while mixture gently boils.
  3. At the end of 5 minutes, remove from heat. Take the pan of popcorn out of the oven and pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn, stirring to coat the popcorn evenly.
  4. Return to oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring once at the 15 minute mark and again when it’s done (a piece removed with a spoon will be crisp to the bite). While caramel corn is cooking, prep a cooling area on a counter with two large pieces of waxed paper.
  5. Immediately pour the hot caramel corn onto the waxed paper and spread evenly to cool, breaking up bigger pieces so that there will be smaller pieces to coat with the chocolate.
  6. Make the “Moose Munch” variation: Divide the cooled caramel corn in half. Place one half in an airtight container and the other half in a large bowl.
  7. Melt the chocolate and pour it over the caramel corn in the bowl; stir to coat well (if using any optional ingredients,* sprinkle over or stir them in with the chocolate).
  8. Spread the chocolate-covered caramel corn back onto the waxed paper and use a couple of forks to separate the pieces as much as possible. You’re aiming for individually coated pieces that will mix in with the plain caramel corn. Let cool completely (I usually wait overnight to be sure).
  9. When the chocolate is firm, toss the plain caramel corn with the chocolate caramel corn. Bag up for gifts or store in an airtight container for up to a week (I have even frozen this for a few weeks and it was still good!).

Makes about 3-1/2 quarts.

*Note: this easily becomes “Peppermint Crunch” Caramel Corn by coating half with white chocolate and sprinkling crushed candy canes over it before it dries, which is so very good, too. You can also stir in any optional add-ins you’d like such as nuts or  broken pretzels.

Other Christmas treats in this series:
Mini Almond Joy Brownies
Whole Grain Cut-Out Cookies
Espresso Truffle Bars
Chocolate Drizzled Nut Squares

Don’t forget to visit these wonderful blogs who are also participating in this “Five Days Of Christmas” series of holiday ideas and inspiration:

A Slob Comes CleanGetting Your Home Company Ready
Feels Like HomeChristmas Traditions
Somewhat CrunchyChristmas with Dairy Allergies
Spell OutloudChildren’s Books
Mama’s Learning CornerChildren’s Crafts
Many Little BlessingsEdible Gifts
Sunflower SchoolhouseDecorations
Catholic IcingWishing Jesus Happy Birthday
The Traveling PratersTraveling
The Homeschool ClassroomGifts Kids Can Make
Mama’s Laundry TalkLaundry Gifts

This is linked to Frugal Friday and Saturday Nite Special.

Comments

  1. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    What?! You’ve moved from Southern Oregon, Heather? Never say! :-) Ahh, but ocean shores, huh? Not bad at all- Hope you’re enjoying it!

  2. Kelly says

    This looks so good! I have a caramel corn recipe that is even easier than yours. I’m going to have to make some & then add the chocolate. What a great gift idea–I’m thinking of making a batch or 2 and leave in the teachers’ lounge as a *thank you* to all the teachers who keep me busy subbing for them! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Kelly says

    Ooops–forgot to ask a quick question….Do you think this would work with melted almond bark in place of the chocolate chips? I have some leftover from last Christmas and was thinking I could use it up in this. What do you think?? Thanks!

  4. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Kelly- Easier? Do share!! And I suppose you could use the almond bark, but since it’s not real chocolate, the flavor won’t be as good…it’s up to you. :-)

  5. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Rachael- Yes, that is perfect etiquette- good job, and thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe- I’ll have to try coconut sugar- does it have a coconut flavor? We really don’t like coconut flavor in things unless it’s a coconut treat, so I’ve had to be pretty careful about what I use the oil in.

    And I’m going to have to make some of the Tiger Bark- yu-um!

    • says

      Coconut sugar does not have a coconut flavor, it tastes a little more like brown sugar (and acts a little more like it as well). I have the same issue with using coconut in things that aren’t supposed to taste coconutty, but I haven’t had any problems using the sugar.

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      That’s good to know, Rachael- thanks! I’ve been hesitant to try it, ’cause its expensive and I didn’t know what the flavor would be like. Now to find a deal on it. :-)

  6. says

    This looks awesome-I have made Baked Caramel Corn for years-the whole time my kids were growing up-I find this one really different in a nice way-I think it might be time to change it up a bit this year. My recipe is very similar-pretty much the same ingredients, just different amounts. After getting your good boil on the caramel sauce-if you stir in 1/2 t. of baking soda and 1 t. vanilla–the caramel sauce puffs up and turns super creamy-pour it on corn right away. I have a site called HomeComforts-could I add your link and recipe for this coming week? Love your site–used to live in Hillsboro-just outside of Portland. Oregon is the best place-loved it there. Thanks

  7. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Robin-Thanks for the comment! I found that the baking soda made the caramel corn more grainy (not sure how to describe it- a texture that was different from the store-bought caramel corn), so I leave it out for that reason. Vanilla is good- sometimes I think to put it in, but most times I don’t. ;-) Honestly, I can’t tell a difference, but I know I’m not refined that way. :-)

    Sure you can feature the recipe with a link! I appreciate it (and you’re asking!). Have a merry holiday!

  8. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Katie- Yes, I found that men universally love this stuff. ;-) Valentine’s is a great idea- I’ve gifted it to a couple of my brothers-in-law for their b-days and it was most appreciated!

    -Jami

  9. Anonymous says

    I just made the caramel popcorn- not so good! This was my first attempt at making popcorn on the stove. It tastes like oil. I used about 3 tablespoons of oil for the 2/3 cup of popcorn. Was that too much? I think I need to start over!! I also used dark brown sugar as that is all I had. Is that ok? Thanks!! I’m sure your recipe is good….I just need to practice making popcorn on the stove!! :)

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      I’ve only used air-popped popcorn, so I haven’t had that problem with the caramel corn. When I’ve made popcorn on the stove I don’t measure- I just put in a bit of oil (not 3TB though- that seems too much) and a layer of kernels on the bottom of the pot. There only needs to be enough oil for the seeds to barely sit in.

      Hope that helps!

  10. Andrea says

    Hello! I was wondering if you
    Knew how much 2/3 c unpopped popcorn is when popped? I would like to use the popcorn you microwave in the bags-will that work? Trying to figure out howamy bags I need..thanks!

  11. Kate L. says

    This recipe was exactly what I was looking for! Though I have no problem with using a candy thermometer, I loved that there was no corn syrup (and I have to admit not using a candy thermometer was kind of nice) and I loved the overall flavor and texture. I ended up adding some mixed nuts to mine and the extra salty kick made it perfect :)

    • Jami says

      I’d love to add nuts, but I’m too cheap when I’m making huge batches to give away. :) Maybe I’ll have to make a small batch with nuts just for us!

  12. Debbie says

    I think it can be done with so many new products they have now. Especially sugar free dark chocolate by Dove!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>