Stop, Drop and Pop It: Homemade Caramel Corn

Fall is here. It’s actually legit now. I’ve worn my fleece, the season has officially started, and people don’t look at me strangely when I talk about craving soup. Oktoberfest has started ruining traffic and parking (I have unfortunate road rage. Trying so hard to get better, but not happening in Chicago).

So I decided to make an old fall family favorite. I remember my mom making this in her old roasting pan and being so excited to see the homemade caramel corn laid out along the counter, not quite ready to eat.

I must admit, this was my first attempt, even though the recipe has been sitting in my family cookbook for the last few years. It always sounded like too much work…. and IT’S NOT! But measure, measure- that’s my tip.

2 c. brown sugar
1/2 corn syrup
2 sticks butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups plain popped popcorn

First, pop your corn. I have an (ancient and wonderful) air popper that I used. Pop on the stove, or buy some of the unsalted, unflavored bags. Put the popped corn in a roasting pan in the oven at 225 degrees to keep warm.

Bring the Butter, Brown Sugar and corn syrup to a boil, and let boil for around 5 minutes. Then add the baking soda and vanilla. It will foam up, but not anything crazy, so just be ready to stir everything together for a hot second.

Sooo I was “eyeballing” the amount of butter…. Don’t do that. I ended up with a slightly too sugary (but still freaking delicious) end product. Moral of the story- this is one to actually measure folks. Rare that I will say this, but with baking, it has to be done, and this is obviously in the baking realm. Once everything is combined, pour over the popped corn and stir to coat. It’s not going to be perfectly coated, so don’t panic like I did.

Now pop that bad guy into the oven (which should still be set at 225 degrees), and stir every 15 minutes for an hour. The caramel will continue to melt and coat more thoroughly. Then lay out on waxed paper or aluminum foil, whichever you have. Obviously I only have aluminum foil, which is why I included it as an option…

I essentially patted it down with my spatula… really precisely and scientifically… mmmhmmm… and let it cool. Yum, enjoy! Perfect for a halloween party or football sunday!


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