This crispy, buttery, caramel popcorn practically melts in your mouth, and it’s perfect for giving as a gift ~ assuming you don’t eat it all yourself.I included a link for these little cellophane gift bags at the bottom of this post.
Easy Step-By-Step Instructions for Crispy Caramel Popcorn
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Line a half-size baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
½ cup popcorn kernels
If the kernels are fresh, they should yield approximately 16 cups of popped corn.
Have you ever noticed that the popcorn you buy at the movie theater (and even the pre-popped bag that you get on the chips aisle at the grocery store) consists of big fluffy round kernels? The reason for this is that they use a different variety. It’s called MUSHROOM POPCORN, and the name has nothing to do with the flavor, so don’t worry. I think it’s a descriptor of the round shape.
Anyway, this variety pops up wonderfully. For this post, I popped it in my air popper. You can get it at amazon.com, in fact, you can click here for Mushroom Popcorn. That’s the only brand that I’ve tried, but I’m sure that other brands are great, too.
Here’s a little trick that I use to get rid of any un-popped kernels.
Use the two largest mixing bowls that you have. Gently shake the bowl full of popcorn, and tap it on the counter several times. This causes the un-popped kernels to settle to the bottom. Now, use your hands to scoop the popcorn from the top and transfer it to the other (larger) bowl. Keep your fingers slightly spread apart to allow any straggling kernels to fall through.
Now you’ll have one bowl full of beautiful, fluffy popcorn, and …
… the yucky stuff will be left in the bottom of the first bowl. Now your caramel corn will be safe to dig into without fear of cracking a tooth on one of those nasty kernels.
Set the popcorn aside until the caramel is ready.
In a heavy, 2 or 3 quart sauce pan, combine
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup (light or dark)
½ teaspoon salt
Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat, and stir in
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
Be prepared: it’s going to foam up. This is the reason that you need a fairly large size pot. At this point, it will begin to set up, so you need to hurry.
Working quickly, carefully pour the carmel over the popcorn. If you’re adding nuts, stir in 1 cup now.
Spread the mixture on the parchment lined baking sheet, and transfer to the 250 degree oven.
Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. When you stir, be sure that the pieces on the bottom are being rotated to the top. You don’t want the bottom to burn.
After 60 minutes, remove it from the oven and spread it out on a clean counter to cool. As soon as it’s cool enough to touch, begin separating the clumps into individual pieces. At this point, you can sprinkle it with a little sea salt, if desired. If you used salted nuts, don’t add more salt.
Enjoy the sweet, salty, crispy goodness!
When it’s cool, store in an airtight container for up to 10 days … BUT it never lasts that long.
It makes great gifts for your friends.
Free Printable Recipe for Caramel Popcorn
- ½ cup popcorn kernels, popped (16 cups popped corn)
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup corn syrup (light or dark)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon Ronald Reginald's vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup roasted peanuts, almond, or cashews (optional)
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Pop the corn, and remove any un-popped kernels.
- Transfer the popcorn to a large mixing bowl.
- Melt the butter in a heavy 2 quart saucepan.
- Add the sugar, corn syrup, and salt.
- Bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and baking soda. The soda will make it foam, but keep stirring.
- Drizzle the carmel over the corn, and stir to coat completely.
- Pour the carmel corn onto your baking sheet, and bake in a 250 degree oven for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
- When it’s done baking, spread it out on a clean surface, breaking it apart as it cools.
- Store in an airtight container.
White Apron Blog http://whiteapronblog.com/