While trying to decide on what to write my article about I thought I would grab a cup of tea and a snack and think on it.

Rummaging through the cupboards for a quick snack, there wasn’t really anything I wanted. I had an “ah ha” moment when I saw the bag of popcorn kernels. I immediately went to thoughts of caramel corn and then I had another “ah ha” moment. I was going to write about a nostalgic childhood snack.

My parents had four kids really close together so there wasn’t much quiet time in our house except for the times Mom would make snacks like caramel corn or brown sugar fudge with peanuts. We would all gather around watching her shake the Dutch oven full of corn kernels waiting to hear the first pop.

In no time at all we would have a full pot of popcorn ready for the ooey-gooey brown sugar caramel sauce. I am sure the quiet only lasted as long as it took for us to devour it but at least they got a little break. Over the years I have played around with the recipe coming up with different variations. The one I am going to share with you is the maple almond one because my neighbour just gave me a big jug of maple syrup!

Maple Almond Caramel Corn

Pop about ½ cup of corn kernels and lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, it will be about 6 to 8 cups. Combine in a sauce pan 1 cup of maple syrup, 3 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp coconut oil and ¼ tsp of salt. Boil to soft ball stage (235º) for about 4-5 mins. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp of vanilla and 1/8 tsp of baking soda. Pour over the popcorn and add ¼ cup of crushed almonds (walnuts are good too), toss till well combined. Let sit for a few minutes to let the sauce harden. Enjoy!

Other fun variations are to: 1) Add rum flavouring to the maple sauce and add coconut flakes and dried pineapple to taste like a Pina colada. 2) Add peanuts, sea salt and chocolate chips. 3) Add crushed pretzels and butterscotch chips. The combinations are endless.

Little nostalgic note: I used my candy thermometer that my mother in law gave me. It belonged to my husband’s paternal grandfather who used to make molasses kisses and peppermint hard candy.

Mari Ann Stiles – Owner/operator of Taco Stiles Food Truck

Twitter @taco_stiles