I suppose I could get in trouble for putting a trademarked name into the title of this popcorn, but the truth is I’m just way too unimportant for Cinnabon to care what I do with their name. And if they tasted this popcorn, they’d probably consider it a compliment that their name had been ascribed to this tasty treat.
Does it taste like a Cinnabon? I have no idea. I think it does, but I’ve only had 1/4 of a single Cinnabon in my entire life, and that was four years ago and as far as I recall, it did not have pecans in it. I do know, however, that it reminds me of a cinnamon roll and it is crazy delicious and I just really like calling it Cinnabon Caramel Corn (versus the official name: “Cinnamon Caramel Corn with Pecans and White Chocolate”–way too many syllables to pronounce when I could be stuffing my face with popcorn exactly eight syllables earlier.).
This would make a great food gift this holiday season and stays fresh in an airtight container for at least a week (based on reports from recievers of portions that were mailed). Ours did not survive more than an hour after it had cooled.
OK, fine. We ate half of it warm.
Cinnabon Caramel Corn
Recipe by Our Best Bites
(My notes are in parentheses. (I like parentheses.))
12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels)*
1 C roughly chopped pecans
1 C brown sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 C Karo syrup (or honey makes a good substitution)
1 stick real butter (1/2 C)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
3 squares almond bark
*You can use air popped or microwave popcorn. If using microwave, anything works, but I prefer a “natural” flavor that’s low in butter and salt.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Place popcorn and chopped pecans in a large bowl and set aside. (I personally divided the popcorn & nuts between two ginormous bowls, which I would recommend so you have room for lots of stirring.)
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a 2 liter capacity microwave safe bowl. Mix well. Chop butter into chunks and place on top of sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over the top of everything. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and then stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Remove and stir and then microwave for 2 minutes more.
Remove from microwave and add in vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. Mixture will foam and rise. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pecans and stir very well so everything is well coated.
Spread popcorn mixture onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan. (I had to use a jelly roll pan & a 9×13 pan–I think 2 jelly roll pans would be best.) Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. (I thought the popcorn wasn’t quite crisp enough after it cooled and will try baking it 10-20 minutes longer next time. I usually bake caramel corn for an hour and found it odd this one only called for half the time.)
Remove from oven and spread out on a large piece of parchment, waxed paper, or foil.
Melt almond bark according to package instructions. Drizzle over popcorn mixture. (I dipped a fork in it and swirled it all over.) When almond bark is hardened and popcorn is cool, break into chunks and enjoy!