Last week at Firefly Handmade, I bought a $7 bag of caramel corn. It was amazingly delicious and handmade in small batches in Denver, but when it was all gone I pouted a bit. I decided to try my hand at making some.
Kettle Corn, Regular ol' Pop Corn, Caramel Corn...is there anything better to munch on when you have a hankering for an old fashioned treat? I'd argue that no, there is not. Whether you're watching a movie or needing a snacky snack for a get-together, this caramel popcorn is the perfect amount of sweet and savory. This recipe is an adaptation of several recipes, so I have a feeling you could add and subtract some things for custom flavors or calorie counts. I chose full butter and full sugar...because that's how I usually roll when making sweets.
Onto the recipe...I'm on borrowed Knox nap time, so I'll get on with it.
2 bags of unsalted or lightly salted popcorn
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (packed) of brown sugar
1/4 cup of corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1. Pop your two bags of popcorn and place in two baking sheets (or one large baking sheet). Make sure you get all the unpopped kernels out.
2. Preheat your oven to 250º and while it is preheating, put the popcorn in to keep warm. The warmer it is, the better it "absorbs" the caramel coating later, in my book.
3. Make Caramel: Melt butter in a small to medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it's melted, gently stir in the cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, and corn syrup. Bring mixture to boil and stir constantly while doing so. Once it comes to a boil, let boil for 3-4 minutes, making sure it doesn't burn. ((when there is about a minute left, take out the popcorn from the oven and place in a large bowl!)) Remove from heat and add vanilla and baking soda.
4. Pour onto popcorn and stir gently, coating all the popcorn.
5. Place onto baking sheets and bake for 1 hour. Make sure to stir it every 15-20 minutes. This will help get all of the popcorn coated.
6. Let cool and then break up pieces.
-This is WAY easier than you'd ever think it would be. Don't be intimidated! I didn't even use a candy thermometer.
-This makes one large gallon sized ziplock baggy full of popcorn. You can easily double the recipe for more.
-Experiment with the flavors! Add a small amount of different spices or coat in more brown sugar when it's fresh from the oven. You could even drizzle it with some white chocolate at the end for some extra sweet.
-It might help to place the popcorn into two bowls before coating it.
-Serving ideas: Serve in vintage looking striped glassine bags, cups, old fashioned popcorn bags, or even mason jars.