All eyes are on my home state of Kentucky this week for the annual running of the Kentucky Derby. However, I’d like to turn your attention to a more animal-friendly point of pride for the state – Bourbon. I use bourbon all the time in cooking and baking. It adds a unique sweetness and helps to mend my heart when I’m homesick for the Bluegrass State.
While you can certainly use any bourbon that you’d like for this recipe, I’m happy to share this list of Kentucky bourbons, all of which have been deemed vegan-friendly by Barnivore.
- Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- Booker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- Buffalo Trace Distilleries – all bourbons
- Bulleit Bourbon
- Four Roses Distillery – all bourbons
- Heaven Hill Distilleries – all bourbons
- Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- Knob Creek Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- Maker’s Mark Bourbon
- Old Forester
- Wild Turkey 101
- Wild Turkey 80
- Wild Turkey Rare Breed
- Wild Turkey Russell’s Reserve
- Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit
- Wild Turkey Straight Rye Whiskey
- Woodford Reserve
Bourbon Caramel Popcorn
Recipe adapted from Foodie Reflections
Yields 6 cups of popcorn
- 1/3 cup vegan refined sugar
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter substitute (I used Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 vanilla bean (or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
- 1/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch of sea salt
- 6 cups of popped popcorn
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the refined sugar and cold water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a slow simmer.
- Allow the sugar to simmer for 12 minutes without stirring.
- As the sugar simmers, split a vanilla bean in two and scrape out the seeds (skip this step if you choose to use vanilla paste or extract instead of beans).
- Remove the sugar from the heat and stir in the vegan butter substitute, bourbon, vanilla beans (or paste or extract) and pinch of sea salt.
- Allow the sugar mixture to cool for 2-3 minutes.
- In the meantime, stir together the popcorn, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- Add in the sugar mixture and stir until the popcorn is fully coated. Be careful, the sugar mixture will still be warm.
- Spread the popcorn evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once. Keep an eye on the popcorn, you want it to be crisp but not burnt.
- Remove the popcorn from the oven and melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.
- Drizzle the chocolate over top of the popcorn.
- Place the popcorn in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets.
- Remove the popcorn from the fridge, break into pieces and enjoy!