I’ve been making this caramel corn for years now, and it still hasn’t let me down. The results are consistently good and it couldn’t be easier. My step-dad loves this popcorn so much that I started making it for him for Christmas. This past holiday, I stuffed a 3-foot tall stocking full of caramel corn… and included some gift certificates for more batches of it throughout the year. He cashed in one of the gift certificates recently and here are the results. It was so irresistible that I ended up making two batches – one for him, and one for Mike and me. We may or may not have eaten the entire batch in just a few short days.
Feel free to use more or less popcorn. I’ve started to use closer to 8 quarts of popcorn so that the caramel is a bit lighter and you get the occasional piece that isn’t 100% coated in caramel. Use just 6 quarts for a very in-your-face sweet, sweet caramel corn.
Crunchy Caramel Popcorn
makes 6 – 8 quarts
3/4 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 – 8 quarts air-popped popcorn
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Line three baking pans with foil or spray with cooking spray.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Allow to boil, unstirred, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla.
- Pour popcorn onto baking pans, dividing evenly between three pans.
- Pour caramel in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
- Bake in preheated oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Stir gently, breaking up large pieces. Serve immediately or store in air-tight container.
Tips for clean up – soak the pot and utensils in hot water. The sticky caramel will melt right off and there will be minimal scrubbing required. The foil in the pans will give you a quick, easy clean up. Just crumple up and toss!