Cashew Maple Caramel Popcorn is a perfect anytime treat, especially around the holidays! Give the gift of chocolate, roasted cashews, and vegan maple caramel in this decadent popcorn snack!
| vegan + gluten free + refined sugar free + dairy free |
Wheeeeee! Only 4 more weeks until Christmas! To. The. Day!
Are you stoked? I’m stoked.
I could really care less about exchanging presents and tearing open wrapping paper. I’m into Christmas for the feels, the food, the smells, the family, friends, and memory-making. For the warm, cozy fireplaces, spending all day in PJs, and chatting with my family over a hot cup of coffee and cinnamon rolls. Or, ehm, waffles.
Two years ago, our old Christmas tree from Target finally bit the dust, and we had to throw it out. We went the entire Christmas season without a tree last year, so this year, I was determined to get a new tree that we could love for years to come. As much as I love Target, that old $50 scraggly-looking tree just had to go.
I really wanted a frosted tree and debated between a couple online, but ultimately I chose this one from At Home. I used a 15% off coupon and a gift card that I saved from last Christmas to get our tree! It’s just perfect in our new home!
I still have to purchase an ornament set, though. The ones I have in the basement were from Target about 6 years ago, and the whole gold & brown color scheme is just not my jam anymore. I’m thinking of incorporating some really light golds with white, possibly silver… maybe some rose gold? Not sure yet – throw some suggestions at me!
Every year, Mom, Dad, my sisters, my husband and I go Christmas tree shopping for my parents’ tree. It’s become this big Christmas tradition that I just love. Everyone piles on their layers, laces up snowboots, and heads to the Christmas tree farm with a chainsaw and the truck. It’s kind of this unspoken contest of “who picked this year’s tree.” I’m pretty sure I’m winning (except the only ones who care are my sisters).
Typically around the holidays, there’s a lot of gift-giving in the form of food. Which I’m totally not complaining about. We give out no-bake cookies, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles (you have to make them!!), peppermint bark, homemade turtles, and sugar cookie cutouts. And that’s only half of it. If you’re really big on the snacks, whip up a batch of No Bake Tahini Granola Bars or even Superfood Granola Bars! The other food that’s really popular at Christmastime is popcorn!
I love popcorn. Always have, always will.
Every so often, Dad will make a giant batch of homemade stove-popped popcorn. His is the best, I swear. I learned how to make it as a kid, and it’s how I’ve been making it ever since.
But this is not just any regular ol’ popcorn. This is Cashew Maple Caramel Popcorn, and it’s literally the most amazing snack on the planet. And it’s SO easy!
This recipe is adapted from Cookie and Kate, one of my favorite blogs. I love the idea of dressing up my popcorn with crazy combinations! Cashew Maple Caramel Popcorn is…
- Vegan, gluten free, and dairy free
- Completely homemade
- Refined sugar-free
- Made with tahini or peanut or almond butter – your choice! It’s fabulous with any of those!
- Incredibly easy, but looks effortful
- Crunchy, sweet, salty, savory, and completely irresistible
- The next major hit at your holiday party
This popcorn is stove-popped with vegan butter and salt, then drizzled with a homemade maple caramel drizzle and baked in the oven for a few minutes to caramelize. After it’s done, we’ll break it apart, toss it with roasted cashews, and drizzle melted chocolate all over the place. Once the chocolate hardens, this Cashew Maple Caramel Popcorn is ready for eating! Or for gift-giving!
My thoughts: set a giant bowl of this Cashew Maple Caramel Popcorn out at your holiday get-together. It will be gone. Like, in minutes. And nobody even has to know that it’s refined sugar-free!
How to Make Homemade Stove-Top Popcorn:
It’s easier than it looks! Add a couple tablespoons of butter to a large soup pot. When the butter melts, add your popcorn kernels and season with a little salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot with a lid. Gently and frequently, shake the pot back and forth on the stove. It will take several minutes, but eventually one or two kernels will pop. Keep shaking the pot so that the kernels don’t get stuck to the bottom and burn. When the majority of the kernels have popped, carefully pour the popcorn into a large bowl or onto a parchment-lined baking tray. If any kernels remain, you can return the pot to the stove and continue to shake until they’re all popped.
That’s it! Super easy.
There are a few different ways to make this caramel corn:
- Tahini! In the original recipe, I reduced tahini and maple syrup together for that sticky sweet caramel corn topping. The tahini and maple are so incredibly good together! A little salty, savory, and sweet all rolled into one. If you’re not a fan of tahini or don’t have a jar on hand…
- Peanut butter. PB + maple = friends for life.
- Almond or cashew butter. So good. I can’t even.
- Replace the roasted cashews with your favorite nut: toasted walnuts and pecans would be fabulous!
Whichever you choose, the base remains the same: maple syrup, nut butter, a little salt, vanilla extract, and definitely chocolate over the whole thing.
I used my favorite Chocolove 70% Strong Dark Chocolate because it’s velvety, creamy, and melts so well!
Store your popcorn in an airtight container, or, if you’re gift-giving, package it in tin cans or Mason jars with a cute little Christmas bow and twine. I can’t wait for you to try this dreamy, decadent popcorn!
Pin this Vegan Cashew Maple Caramel Popcorn for later!
Vegan, gluten free, and dairy free, this popcorn is sticky sweet, salty, and savory, and makes the perfect holiday snack!
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter
- 1/2 c. popcorn kernels
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8-10 c. popped popcorn (from above)
- 2/3 c. pure maple syrup
- 1/4 c. tahini or nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 c. roasted cashews*
- 4 oz. vegan dark chocolate
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 375 F and line two rimmed baking trays with parchment paper.
Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat; add the butter. When the butter melts, reduce heat to medium and add the popcorn kernels and salt. Cover the pan with a lid. Gently and constantly, shake the pan back and forth on the stove to keep the kernels from sticking to the bottom and burning. Shake gently for several minutes until the kernels begin to pop. Once they start popping, slide the lid just a little off the pan to allow steam to escape. Once the kernels have all popped and you stop hearing any popping for several seconds, immediately remove the popcorn from the heat and pour into a large bowl.
Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the maple syrup and tahini or nut butter, whisking to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a boil. Boil 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly, until the maple syrup thickens. Don't boil any longer than a few minutes! Remove from heat; stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
Pour the popcorn onto the prepared baking pans. Pour the maple syrup mixture evenly over top the popcorn. You'll want to do this while the maple syrup is still hot. Place the pans into the oven at 375 F and bake for 6 minutes. Remove, and toss the popcorn gently with a spatula. Bake another 6 minutes, then remove and cool. Scatter the roasted cashews with the popcorn.
Place the chocolate and 1 tsp. coconut oil in a small bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments until completely melted. Drizzle chocolate over top the popcorn. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden, then break the popcorn into pieces and store in an airtight container. Best eaten the day it's made.
* If you want to roast your own cashews, simply place 1 1/2 c. plain raw cashews onto a baking tray. Roast at 375 F for 10 minutes, tossing halfway through. Cool.
Nutrition information per serving (about 1 cup):
Calories: 230 Protein: 5g Carbs: 25g Fat: 15g Fiber: 3g