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Fourth of July Firecracker Popcorn

I have had fun looking for festive recipes for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. I found this great idea for Firecracker Popcorn on the Holiday Snob web site.

I haven't made homemade caramel corn in a long time. When I saw this recipe I thought it was time to give it another try. This recipe is very similar to caramel corn, you are just using red hots for the syrup, instead of caramel. It is really, really good!


  • 3 bags microwave popcorn, popped
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 large box red hots candy (about 6 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

You can use microwaved popcorn or popcorn from an air popper for this recipe. I used my air popper, and made two batches of popcorn for this recipe.

firecracker popcorn

Have popcorn ready in a large bowl before you start cooking the syrup. Have your cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray ready. A jelly roll pan or roasting pan also work great for this. I used a jelly roll pan and a 13x9-inch pan for the popcorn that wouldn't fit on the jelly roll pan.

In a sauce pan, mix butter or margarine, corn syrup and red hots over med/high heat. Once it boils let it boil until it reaches soft ball stage on a candy thermometer (235-240 degrees F), stirring constantly. When you drop a teaspoonful of syrup into a cup of cold water it should easily form into a soft ball. Once the syrup reaches soft ball stage remove from heat and pour over popcorn, mixing well..

firecracker popcorn

Pour popcorn into prepared pans and place in oven. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes. Remove from oven and pour out in a single layer onto waxed paper. Store in an airtight container. You won't need to store it very long, though, because it won't last easy treat for the Fourth of July, or any time!

Copyright 2012, Creative Homemaking, LLC. This article may not be reprinted.

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Rachel Paxton
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