Chris Cooks

Vegan-Friendly Chocolate Peppermint Caramel Corn | Chris Cooks

December 18, 2022

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I’ve shared a version of my caramel corn in the past, but since that time I’ve tweaked the recipe a tad and I really think it’s become something out-of-this-world special. Especially considering that it’s dairy free.

Now, Jules is typically grain free. But every year around Christmas she asks me to make a batch of caramel corn, and that’s her big indulgence. This is a holiday treat if there’s ever been one, and the combination of flavors and textures is unexpectedly addicting.

Tree Candles | Ribbed Bowl | Striped Towel | Gingerbread House (similar) | Faux Tree | Wreath | Kitchen Sources

So for anyone you know who may have a dairy allergy, this is the perfect treat to share. And even without the dairy, everyone I’ve given it to has said it’s the best caramel corn they’ve ever had. So give this one a try – share it with everyone! And the recipe has been adjusted for a double batch, because it goes quick.

Chocolate Peppermint Caramel Corn (Vegan-friendly)

The classic, losing the dairy but gaining so, so much more. Chocolatey, crispy, salty and sweet. It's got it all.
Course: Dessert, Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unpopped popcorn kernels or 3 bags of microwave popcorn, plain
  • 1 box Crispix cereal family sized – Corn Chex works too
  • 3 candy canes crushed into tiny bits
  • 1 Tbsp flake salt
  • 1/2 cup dairy free white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup diary free dark chocolate chips

For the caramel

  • 1 cup vegan butter Miyokos brand is my favorite
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 11.6oz can sweetened condensed coconut milk

Instructions

Pop the popcorn

  • Using a popcorn popper or a pot on the stove, pop the popcorn kernels in 1/2 cup batches to prevent burning. Separate out the unpopped kernels by moving the popped kernels from one large bowl to another, carefully, shaking from time to time to settle the unpopped kernels. You don't want any unpopped kernels in the mix, or someone could break a tooth.
  • In an extra large metal or wooden mixing bowl, combine the popcorn and Crispix. Toss to mix evenly.

Make the caramel

  • In a medium sized pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. As soon as its melted, add the cocoa powder and whisk together. Then add the corn syrup and brown sugar and quickly whisk only just until everything is combined. Don't overwork it.
  • Let the caramel come to a bubble. Don't touch it during this time. Once the entire pot is bubbling, set a timer for 2 minutes.
  • After two minutes, add the sweetened condensed coconut milk and gently fold into the mix. This caramel doesn't behave like standard caramel, so you don't have to worry as much about crystallization and graininess, but try to be light-handed even still.
  • Once combined, bring to a bubble again. As soon as the entire pot is bubbling, set a timer for 4 minutes.

Make the caramel corn

  • As soon as the 4 minutes are up, pour the caramel directly over the popcorn/Crispix (be sure you're using a heat-proof bowl). Stir the mix together using a spoon around the edges of the bowl and folding everything back in gently. Try not to get too rough, or all the cereal will break up.
  • Add the crushed candy canes and flake salt, and stir again. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Add the white and dark chocolate chips, then stir again until just combined. Lay out on a large layer of foil on the counter to cool for at least an hour so the chocolate can set. Cover loosely with foil if it'll be out longer than that.
  • Add to a bowl and enjoy!

What do you think?

  1. Shay says:

    If you did want to make it with dairy – would you be able to sub dairy products straight across?

  2. Mollie says:

    Yum! Have you tried it with dairy butter? I’m not opposed to vegan – just have plenty of traditional butter on hand. But if it’s better vegan will get it!

  3. Danielle says:

    How long does it last? Could I make it and ship it to a friend?

    • Chris says:

      Definitely. It’s never “lasted” more than a couple days around here, but it’ll keep for a week or two I’m sure.

  4. Barb says:

    Did you think it would good without the candy canes? Not a fan of mint.

  5. Deanna says:

    I’m so excited it make this! Would it keep well for a day or so?

  6. Alex says:

    What kind of dairy free white chocolate chips do you prefer? Hard to find white chocolate that tastes similar to the real thing

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