Sunday, February 19, 2012

Caramel Corn

My mouth starts to drool a little bit every time I look at this stuff.
I've developed a bit of a caramel corn obsession.  I've really never not liked it, but lately my sweet tooth has gone absolutely crazy for the stuff!  Unfortunately, it's so not healthy.  When I do allow myself to make it it's usually gone within a day or two -- and I wish I could say that that was because I shared most of it.  Still, it's delicious and I've found a fabulous (and easy) recipe over at Our Best Bites.  However, I haven't had much luck using the microwave method Sara describes without the caramel ending up all over the place.  And for those of you who want a one-stop shop, I'll post the recipe as I have followed it.  It mostly follows what has been laid out at Our Best Bites, but with my notes and tweaks.

Easy Homemade Caramel Corn


  • 12 cups air-popped popcorn -- about 1/2 cup unpopped kernels
  • 1/2 cup white Karo syrup
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter -- 1 stick 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

First, pop the popcorn and set it aside.  I sort the unpopped kernels out as I transfer to a humongous bowl while the caramel is cooking, but you can also do this beforehand.  Definitely remove and hard or unpopped pieces before adding the caramel, though!

Next, mix the Karo syrup, brown sugar, salt, and butter in a sauce pan and set on low to medium -- enough to melt the butter and get it bubbling a bit.  Keep an eye on this, though.  I used a non-stick pan so it wouldn't burn to the bottom, but if you choose not to use non-stick you'll probably want to keep stirring it fairly often.  I leave it bubbling on the stove, stirring every few minutes or so, for about five minutes on a medium heat so if you opt for the lower setting leave it on a bit longer.  Then, mix in the baking soda and vanilla.  It'll bubble a bit from the vanilla and it'll smell amazing!

With the popcorn in a very large bowl -- you don't want to lose any as you mix it all together because (1) it's delicious and (2) it's hot -- pour the caramel over and mix with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula.  Spread onto a cookie sheet or onto aluminum foil for it to cool before eating -- I promise it's worth the wait!

Now this last step is optional, but I like my caramel corn just a tiny bit crunchy so I baked it for 20 minutes at 300 degrees (convection), turning the caramel corn over and mixing a bit halfway through.

Perfection!  I may have to start making smaller batches so I can't pig out on it so much...but where's the fun in that?

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