Oranges are a much ignored fruit. There is really nothing special about an orange. It’s not like a mango or a coconut. They are ubiquitous, and you can find them any time of year. They seem to be especially popular at Christmas time. We always got an orange in our stocking at Christmas, which I can tell you I was not thrilled about as a child. It might as well have been a lump of coal at the bottom of the stocking as far as I was concerned. Now that I am older and have kids of my own, I give them oranges in their stockings as well. They are about as excited as I was. But maybe when they grow up, they will discover the many wonderful uses of oranges and have a different perspective. Oranges are so versatile, and can be used in myriad dishes, from the savory to the sweet. I have recently started using Wild Orange essential oil in many of my recipes that call for orange extract or orange peel. It adds an extra kick of orange flavor that I just love.
My Orange Spice Caramel Corn is a fantastic treat at any time of the year, but would make a special and unique gift for your friends and neighbors at Christmas time. Just put it in a cellophane bag, tie the top with a cute bow, and you’re done! This would also be a great treat for a New Year’s Eve party! If you don’t have orange essential oil, you can of course use orange extract instead. You probably already have the ingredients for this in your home, so go ahead and give it a try! You’re sure to add this to your repertoire of favorite treats!
- 12 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup un-popped kernels, popped)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup or honey
- 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup (one stick) real butter
- 1 tsp. orange extract or about 5 drops of orange essential oil (that has been approved for internal use--not just topical or aromatic use)
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup mixed nuts (optional)
- Melted dark or semi-sweet chocolate (optional)
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Combine brown sugar, corn syrup or honey, pumpkin pie spice, and butter in a pan on the stove. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted and the mixture begins to bubble.
- Remove from heat and add orange extract or essential oil and baking soda.
- Pour over popcorn and stir until popcorn is evenly coated. Add mixed nuts if desired.
- Spread on foil-lined large baking sheet and put in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes.
- Remove from the oven and spread on a large piece of waxed paper or foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
- Drizzle melted chocolate over the top if desired and let set and harden.
- Break into chunks and enjoy!
Be sure to check out my other orange-inspired desserts!
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