This fabulous unique caramel corn recipe was inspired by my favorite Girl Scout Cookie, the Samoas (or Caramel D’Lites). The last batch of samoas caramel corn I made disappeared in minutes!
Ever since I whipped up a batch of chai tea caramel corn and realized how easy it was to make caramel corn at home, I’ve had so much fun experimenting with recipes! Last Christmas, I shipped care packages to family with snacks, and included my s’mores caramel corn and this Samoas caramel corn. The recipe didn’t go up last year because the caramel corn I saved for pictures disappeared too quickly. I had to make this recipe at least 3 times to get pictures, everyone loves it!
With it being autumn and all, caramel corn is everywhere! It’s a great homemade Halloween snack, a perfect edible gift idea for the holidays, and just a fun gluten free snack to have on hand for movie nights or parties. I rather miss living in a home where we could have fire pits, because caramel corn is also a perfect fireside snack. The point I’m trying to make in a rather roundabout way is that I’m overdue to make another batch of this samoas caramel corn and probably another flavor too. ‘Tis the season and all.
You will need to plan a little time for baking the caramel corn to get that fabulous crispy coating. Since you can make this up to 4-5 days in advance and store in an airtight container at room temperature, there’s flexibility in the baking schedule. I like to bake on my silicone baking mats since nothing sticks to my pan and it’s easy to stir the popcorn without my liner slipping. Package the completely cooled corn in zip top plastic bags or a glass or plastic container (use a big one!) if you aren’t eating as soon as it cools.
Enjoy, darlings! I hope you like this Girl Scout cookie inspired snack as much as we do! As a Lifetime Girl Scout and Gold Award recipient, I have many positive memories of my scouting years, far more than cookies. If you don’t know anything about Girl Scouts, visit their website.
- 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup corn syrup or honey*
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes**
- 1 cup dark chocolate candy coating
In a nonstick skillet over medium low heat, toast the coconut flakes for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until a light golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Pop the popcorn using your preferred method (stovetop, machine, or microwave). I use two brown paper lunch bags with ¼ c unpopped popcorn in each, microwaved on high for 2 minutes, or until popping slows to 5 seconds between kernels. To remove unpopped kernels, pour the bags into a large bowl, shake the bowl so the unpopped kernels fall to the bottom, and scoop out the popped popcorn. Discard the unpopped kernels.
Preheat your oven to 250 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Set aside.
In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, salt, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (plastic spatulas can melt if they aren't heat resistant at high temperatures!). You don't need a candy thermometer, but if you prefer to use one, I bring the mixture up to 290-295 F.
Remove the caramel coating from the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract. Keep stirring until the bubbles subside.
Pour the caramel over the popcorn, stirring as best you can to coat the popcorn evenly. Stir in the toasted coconut.
Once the popcorn has been coated in the caramel mixture, divide it between the two baking sheets, spreading into a single layer. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through the cooking time.
Remove the popcorn from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet. It will become crunchy as it cools.
While the popcorn is cooling, melt the candy coating and place into a piping bag with the corner snipped off. Drizzle over the popcorn in fine lines, trying to get a bit of chocolate on each piece. Allow the candy coating to set while the popcorn cools.
When the popcorn is cool and the candy coating is set, store in airtight containers at room temperature up to one week.
*Honey will add a bit of a honey flavor to your popcorn, corn syrup provides the most neutral flavor. Don't skip this ingredient or your popcorn will become grainy.
**I have used sweetened coconut flakes in a pinch, use what you have on hand.