I think that the only time I really ate caramel corn (prior to this) was from those jumbo popcorn tins that people give as Christmas gifts. You know, with the cheese flavored section, butter section, and caramel corn section? I’m sure I’ve had it other times at carnivals and fairs but it’s definitely not something that I found myself eating very often. It’s also not something that I ever really thought to make at home.
This is not a recipe for popcorn that you will be able to eat immediately because it needs to bake in order to become crispy. It also doesn’t require a candy thermometer and is really not fussy as far as caramel goes, which is awesome. My kitchen was definitely a little messy but honestly, whenever I bake or cook my kitchen is pretty much a disaster. 🙂
Give this one a try. Have it for a snack around Thanksgiving, package it up for Christmas gift bags, or hoard the entire batch for yourself.
Homemade Caramel Corn
- Preheat the oven to 250° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Pop popcorn using your preferred method. Place the popped popcorn in 2-3 very large bowls. (You will need enough room to toss the popped popcorn with the caramel sauce.)
- To make the caramel, melt the butter over medium heat in a 2-quart saucepan. Once melted, stir in the corn syrup, brown sugar and salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Once the mixture reaches a boil, let it continue to boil for an additional 5 minutes, without stirring. Remove from the heat and add in the baking soda and vanilla. (The mixture will bubble quite a bit.)
- Divide the caramel sauce between the popped popcorn evenly and toss to coat thoroughly using a rubber spatula, salad tongs, or large spoons.
- Spread the popcorn evenly onto the prepared baking sheets. Clumps are fine and will spread out during baking.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, tossing and redistributing the caramel sauce every 10 minutes. Test a cooled piece of popcorn after 40 minutes. It should be crispy and if it’s not, return pans to the oven for an additional ten minutes of baking. 8. Remove the baking sheets to a wire rack and allow popcorn to cool completely before packaging. Store in airtight containers.