Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What I Made Wednesday {Best-Ever Caramel Corn}

I must start today's project with a disclaimer: if you prepare this easy-to-make recipe I am in no way responsible for an increase in weight, raised cholesterol levels, a new addiction, or "shrinkage" of clothing because when you start munching on this popped kernel of sweetness, it seems to disappear faster than you can say "make a double batch". Seriously, it. is. that. good! With some minor modifications to the original recipe, we stumbled upon a new caramel corn taste that is lighter (half the butter - woo hoo!) and crunchier than anything we've ever tasted.

What You'll Need
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 quarts of popped popcorn (not microwave - blech!)

What You'll Do
First, you want to preheat your oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C why should my International readers be spared from this new addiction?). For newer readers, I am a self-proclaimed "popcorn snob", see post. Microwave popcorn is not part of my repertoire and I don't recommend it for this recipe or ever.

Whirley-Pop or Air Popper is the only way to go.

Place 5 quarts of popcorn into a big bowl. Remove ALL unpopped kernels.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Note: you'll notice 2 sticks of butter. We tried our second batch with only 1 stick of butter and that was the winning version giving it the "Best-Ever" title.

Stir constantly and bring to a boil. When it begins to boil, stop stirring and let it boil for 4 minutes. Don't touch it! After 4 minutes take it off the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract.
Pour the hot mixture over the popped popcorn awaiting your gooey concoction (now you'll know why it needed to be a large bowl). Stir it all around to cover the mixture all over the popcorn. Split the caramel corn evenly between 2 shallow baking pans.

What You'll Need to Know to Finish
Place both pans into the pre-heated oven and stir the caramel corn in the pans every 15 minutes for 1 whole hour total. After the hour, remove the pans from the oven and break apart the caramel corn when it cools. Store in an air tight container. I wish I could tell you for how long, but I've never gone longer than 2 days before it was all gone!



Madeleine @ NZ Ecochick said...

I love caramel popcorn but it's so expensive in New Zealand! I'm so totally going to make this thanks for the recipe. haha I love your disclaimer at the start! So funny.

KimMalk said...

This looks wonderful! I have "mastered" kettle corn (it's in quotes, because sometimes my stove top doesn't cooperate). I have not tried a caramel version, this is so tempting. I think I'll make it around the holidays so I'm not alone in the house with it! I, too, can be a popcorn snob. I shake a pan, but I like your stir popper.


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