Tequila-Spiked Caramel Corn

More suited to a cocktail party than a baseball game, this riff on Cracker Jack by Atlanta pastry chef Taria Camerino is sweetened with agave nectar and spiked with tequila. Slow-baking turns the popcorn-nut mix fabulously crunchy.

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  • Servings: Makes 16 cups

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  • 16 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tequila

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 250° and position racks in the upper and middle thirds. Toss the popcorn with the roasted peanuts in a large heatproof bowl.

  2. In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar with the butter, agave nectar, corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Boil over moderate heat for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Using a long spoon, stir in the baking soda and tequila; the syrup will foam. Immediately pour the hot syrup over the popcorn and peanuts and, using 2 spoons, toss to coat thoroughly.

  3. Spread the popcorn on 2 nonstick baking sheets and bake for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally and switching the sheets halfway through, until golden and nearly dry. Turn off the oven, open the oven door completely and let the popcorn cool completely before serving.

Make Ahead

The caramel corn can be kept in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Agave nectar (also called agave syrup) is a liquid sweetener made from the agave plant. Look for it in health-food stores.

Contributed By Photo © Con Poulos Published February 2010

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