I’m such a sucker for popcorn. Especially movie theatre popcorn, but who isn’t? And there’s so much you can do with popcorn to jazz up this simple snack.
In this blog post I will show you how to make your own caramel popcorn to use as a gift, to share with friends and family, or to keep all for yourself.
This recipe requires the followings ingredients:
– 10 C. popped popcorn
– 1 C. butter
– 2 C. packed brown sugar
– 1 tsp. salt (I just used table salt)
– 1/2 C. corn syrup
– 1/2 tsp. baking soda
– 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (or preference)
– a good toothbrush for cleaning afterwards (trust me, you’ll need it)
I learned this cool trick to making your own popped popcorn when you don’t have an air popper and want a different option than the stovetop version. Take a normal brown paper bag that you would’ve used as a lunch bag when you were a child. Measure 1/3 C. of kernels and add it to the bag. Roll down the bag twice and make sure that it’s tight. Folding down the bag twice will ensure the bag doesn’t come undone in the microwave. Then you’ll microwave on high for approximately 2:30min. Each microwave is different, so listen to the popcorn, and stop the time when there is roughly 5 seconds in between each “pop”. This makes about 3 C. of popcorn. So repeat these steps until you have the 10 C. of popcorn you need.
While the popcorn is doing its thing, pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees F.
Once each popcorn bag is done, dump it into a large roasting pan. I’ve seen so many recipes that say to place the popcorn onto a flat baking sheet, but trust me, you want something a lot deeper to ensure you can stir the popcorn well enough once it’s baking.
In your favourite medium-sized saucepan, or in the microwave, melt the butter. Once it’s melted, stir in the brown sugar, salt, and corn syrup (in your saucepan), maintaining medium heat. While stirring constantly, bring your sugar mixture to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, stop stirring and set your timer for 4 minutes. I know this seems scary that the mixture will burn and stick to the bottom of the pot, but trust me, it’s fine. After the 4 minutes is up, take the pot off the heat and when you’re emotionally ready for the science experiment you’re about to create, add the vanilla and baking soda in. WARNING: it will bubble up and get a lot bigger in the pot because of the baking soda, but that’s normal. Just keep on stirring!
I wish I got a picture of what the sugar mixture looked like once it’s done, but it’s such a quick process and gets HOT that it was too scary to stop what I was doing to take a picture. But if you want a visual, picture what caramel sauce looks like in your mind. That’s what it looks like.
Once the mixture is stirred well, evenly pour the mixture overtop of the popcorn. Then gently stir to coat the popcorn in the sugar mixture. Place in the oven and bake for an hour, taking the popcorn out every 15 minutes to stir.
After the hour, remove the popcorn for one last stir, and leave to completely cool. At that point, you can break the popcorn into pieces and place in your storage containers. A fair warning, this popcorn did not last very long in my house! After dishing out parts as gifts, we ate the remainders and every last morsel was gone within the week…it’s that good! Enjoy!