Caramel. I’m not a real foodie, but if you read enough food magazines, watch enough food shows, you can tell that caramel seems rather popular. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s so simple and so delicious. Everyone has had caramel popcorn – maybe with peanuts and a prize, or in a large plastic tub, or at a carnival but until I tasted this caramel popcorn about 6 years ago, I hadn’t tasted anything like it. It has just enough caramel flavor, but it’s baked to be just crispy enough. It’s not a new recipe, although I’ve made a peanut butter and cinnamon version that I’ll share later, but it is unique and delightful. It tastes light and almost melts in your mouth. Possibly too good? The jury is still out…
Caramel Popcorn (printable recipe)
3 quarts air popped popcorn (about 3/4 cup unpopped kernels)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
You need to use air popped popcorn. I borrow our neighbor’s air popper, but you can also just take a brown paper bag and microwave it. Just make sure you pick out the unpopped kernels. They hurt in the caramel corn.
Melt butter over medium heat. Add corn syrup and brown sugar, stirring constantly. At first bubbles, set a timer for 5 minutes and let it boil without stirring. Remove from heat, add vanilla extract (it will bubble) and baking soda. Pour mixture over popped corn and stir well. Spread popcorn in a single layer on a buttered baking sheet. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.