Nothing is better than a spicy chai latte on a cold winter day, but sometimes you just don’t feel like going outside. So until they roll out Starbucks delivery, check out this simple chai-infused popcorn recipe that can be made with a few dorm staples. Some people might balk at caramel because it sounds tricky (and sticky) but it’s actually very easy to make if you pay attention and are careful not to spill it. From my experience, never use a whisk when making caramel, and only stir the melting sugar in the beginning to get the sugar to dissolve. This stuff is seriously addictive and will be gone by the end of the night.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 chai tea bags
2 tablespoons butter
Non-stick cooking spray
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bag microwave popcorn
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Cook the popcorn in the microwave according to package directions.
- Bring 1/3 cup water to boil in a high sided sauce pan and add the 2 tea bags to infuse.
- Spray a large mixing bowl and a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Put the popcorn in the mixing bowl and set aside.
- Once the tea is infused into the water, remove the tea bags and add the sugar, butter and cinnamon.
- Over low to medium-low heat, use a wooden spoon to stir the sugar and butter mixture until smooth.
- Once the sugar mixture is dissolved, allow it to come to a boil. You may be tempted to stir it, but resist the urge! Stirring the melted sugar can lead to seizing and crystallization, which is not tasty.
- After about 5 minutes of boiling, dip a fork into the melted sugar just enough to get some of the caramel on the ends. Run the fork under cold water until the caramel is cool and feel it with your fingers. If it is still soft, it isn’t ready. Keep testing this every 1 to 2 minutes until the caramel is hard after running it under cold water. When it is at the hard ball stage, take it off the heat, but be careful because it is insanely hot!
- Add the 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the caramel and stir with the wooden spoon until it is frothy (about 30 seconds)
- Quickly and carefully pour the caramel over the popcorn in the mixing bowl. Use the wooden spoon to stir until popcorn is evenly coated (and make sure to wear an oven mitt because the bowl will be hot).
- Once the popcorn is sufficiently covered, dump it onto the greased cookie sheet and spread it into an even layer to avoid having one huge lump of popcorn.
- Sprinkle with a little salt and extra cinnamon and and allow to cool before serving.
Got a hankering for more cozy treats? Check out these: