January 19th officially celebrates National Popcorn Day and the editors over at Cooking Light Magazine have decided that this is the season and the day for discovering a new way to pack some punch into your low calorie cooking with a Peanut Butter Caramel Corn recipe from the book, Cooking Light The New Way to Cook Light (below).

Cooking Light

(True I am not normally a fan of corn syrup. But I suppose you could substitute in this recipe with any other kind of sugar syrup such as brown rice syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar or light molasses. I am going to experiment. Watch the calorie content for the one that matches best.) However, occasionally I don’t mind indulging without guilt.  This would be the moment.

It’s also a great recipe to have on hand for upcoming Oscar parties (Feb 24) and Superbowl Sunday (Feb 3) which coincidentally marks the unofficial original holiday.

Spice up boring appetizers by serving (and eating!) this new take on a classic. It’s a fun and yummy way to honor this year’s critically-acclaimed films and our pigskin warriors by incorporating two of America’s favorite duos– popcorn and movies and popcorn and the Superbowl!


Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Cooking spray
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup unpopped popcorn
½ cup sliced almonds
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
⅔ cup light-colored corn syrup
2. tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 250.

2. Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray.

3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add popcorn; cover and cook 4 minutes, shaking pan frequently. When popping slows, remove pan from heat. Let stand until popping stops. Uncover; add almonds.

4. Combine sugar, syrup, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla, and stir until smooth. Drizzle over popcorn; toss well. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Serves 20 (serving size: about ¾ cup).

calories 155; fat 7.4g (sat 1.8g, mono 3.5g, poly 1.6g); p rot e in 2.6g; c a r b 21.3g; fiber 1.4g; chol 4mg; iron 0.4mg; sodium 108mg; calc 17mg