Chai spices give Chai Caramel Corn robust flavor that goes well with white or dark chocolate (or both). Chai Caramel Corn is a great snack for family gatherings and it makes your house smell wonderful.
When I first started teaching at a university, an international student invited me over for dinner. She made the Pakistani version of chai and it was divine. Now, I drink chai every morning for breakfast. The combination of spices, tea and milk is a great way to wake up.
My daughter is having friends over for New Years Eve and I wanted to make a few snacks. Nothing like a group of hungry college kids to clean out your cupboards.
We’ll have plenty of chips, dip and finger foods but a party’s not a party without caramel corn too. When I took a cooking class recently, the chef mentioned that tea is a great basis for caramel recipes. You just substitute the kind of tea you like for water in the caramel.
I decided to try caramel corn with chai. However, I like my chai on the spicy side and caramel is quite sweet so I added chai spices as well. The additional spices really make this Chai Caramel Corn flavorful.
Ideally, air popped popcorn is best for this recipe. I used to have a hot air popper but got rid of it and hadn’t seen any until very recently. My kids bought me a microwave popcorn popper for Christmas so I went with that. It worked perfectly and collapses to fit in our small kitchen.
Chai Caramel corn is low fat. A little additional chocolate doesn’t up the fat too much and chocolate pairs well with chai. I drizzled white and dark chocolate on mine.
To make drizzling and cleanup easier, I put my chocolate disks in a plastic sandwich bag and set that in a bowl to microwave. You have to be careful to not let the chocolate get too hot so I took mine out every 15 seconds and moved the disks around in the bag by rubbing the outside.
When the chocolate started to melt, I cut my time down to 10 second intervals. It took the white chocolate about 1 minute to melt and the dark chocolate took about 90 seconds.
Once the chocolate was melted, I cut a small hole in the corner of the ziplock back and drizzled on my cooled Chai Caramel Corn. I turned my corn over when I’d used about half the bag so I got both sides.
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup strong chai tea
- ⅓ cup Corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamon
- small pinch ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 7 cups popped corn
- ½ cup pecans (optional)
- ½ cup white or dark chocolate, melted (optional, I used Santa Barbara Chocolate Organic Dark 60% Chocolate and Santa Barbara Chocolate Belgian White Chocolate)
- Mix dry spices and baking soda together and set aside.
- Combine sugar, tea, and corn syrup in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook to hard crack stage (310°F). There is no need to stir during the boiling process.
- Remove from heat. Working quickly, add vanilla and spice mixture. Stir until combined. Then add popcorn and nuts if desired.
- Turn out onto a silpat or a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Let cool and break into chunks.
- If desired, drizzle popcorn with melted chocolate. (I put mine in a ziplock bag and cut a small hole in the corner to drizzle)
- Store in an airtight container.
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