If you love popcorn, and you love caramel, then it doesn’t get much better than this. A buttery, brown sugar and vanilla caramel coats fresh organic popcorn for a crispy, salty and sweet (addictive) snack! My daughter loves popcorn, so I thought it would be fun for her to watch it pop from the kernels and then baked in the caramel (with the oven lights on!). We made the very easy recipe this afternoon and are bringing it to a friend’s house tonight. I thought it would be a fun dessert for the kids, although I think it will be the adults in this crowd that get to it first.
Because of a friend’s food allergies, I kept this recipe very basic, but at the bottom of the recipe, I will put some suggested add-ins that would make this a little more exciting!
1 cup organic popping corn
¼ cup vegetable oil
Put a large pot over a medium heat, and add the oil and popcorn. Put a lid on the pot, with a small gap so that steam can escape. Pop the corn until there are a few seconds between pops, and it sounds like they are mostly cooked. Dump the popped corn into a large buttered roasting pan (like one you would use for your thanksgiving turkey!) and sprinkle with kosher salt.
1 cup butter
2 cups light brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
In the same pot that you made the popcorn, melt the butter, sugar, corn syrup and salt together. Let them boil, and continue to stir them for about 5 minutes. In a tiny bowl, mix the baking soda and vanilla together so that the soda is mostly dissolved.
When the caramel has cooked about 5 minutes, pull the pot off of the heat, and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. The caramel should get very light and frothy. Immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn, and gently fold the caramel into the corn to try to coat it. At this point you will probably think that you have not made enough caramel for the corn, as there will be globs of caramel, and a lot of the popcorn will not seem well coated. But don’t worry! this is where the oven comes in. Put the roasting pan in the preheated oven (250 degrees), and bake the popcorn for about 7-8 minutes. Gently stir the popcorn into the melting caramel until the popcorn is better coated. Repeat this again at the 15 minute mark, after which the popcorn should be quite evenly coated. Bake for another 15 minutes, and then remove from the oven. Give the corn one final stir to coat the popcorn, and then leave it to cool. When the popcorn is totally cool, it will have a nice, thin, crispy coating. Store in airtight containers.
Suggested “Add-Ins” for the Caramel Corn:
Roasted Peanuts or Almond Slivers, (to be added with the popcorn to the roasting pan before mixed with the caramel).
Raisins or Dried Cranberries, butterscotch chips or chocolate chips, (to be added after the caramel corn is cooked, but stirred in before it is cooled).