Simply boil the caramel ingredients, toss the popped popcorn in the caramel, and bake the caramel corn to golden, crispy perfection.
By Kelsey Hilts
This caramel corn is one of the many food-related traditions in my family. My Aunt Sue makes it every year. I start to think about it around Halloween and then associate it with Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and the rest of the winter holiday season. (Although it would be great any time of year!)
This was my first time making it and I discovered that the recipe is straight-forward and approachable. I have always been nervous to try it because I’m not too familiar with candy-making, but I was excited to see that a candy thermometer is not even required. All you have to do is boil the caramel ingredients for a few minutes, toss the popped popcorn in the caramel, and bake it in the oven to golden, crispy perfection.
I think I may have started a new tradition in my family because everyone, even my husband who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, loved this caramel corn. It is not loaded with extras but you could add nuts, candies or chocolates as desired. It is lightly covered in a caramel candy coating, giving it a perfect crunch and burst of sweet caramel without being too rich.
- 1 cup (229g) butter
- 2 cups (402g) brown sugar
- ½ cup (175g) light corn syrup
- 1 tsp (5g) salt
- ½ tsp (2g) baking soda
- 1 tsp (5mL)vanilla
- 6 quarts popped corn
- Pop the corn and set it aside in a large mixing bowl.
- Bring the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt to a boil, stirring it constantly.
- Once it starts to boil, turn the heat to low and allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes without stirring it.
- Remove it from the heat and stir in the baking soda and the vanilla.
- Stir it well.
- Pour it over the popped corn and toss to coat.
- Dump the coated caramel corn into an aluminum turkey roasting pan and mix it more if needed to evenly coat the pop corn.
- Bake at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring it every 15 minutes.
- Remove the caramel corn from the oven and let it cool.
- Break it up if desired and store it in a tightly-covered container.
Kelsey Hilts is the founder of Itsy Bitsy Foodies, an online resource for families looking for ways to spend more time together enjoying food and exploring the world beyond the children’s menu.