I love making popcorn!! It is one of my favorite snacks and I can eat a whole bowl (XL serving) all by myself. I am one to share, but I will usually pop a separate bowl for guests or family!! Just something about eating popcorn and watching a movie or a tv program at night. Then, there are leftovers the next day!!
The other night, a nurse I work with brought in some Caramel Popcorn from a local store. Everyone raved about it except me. I thought, Hmmmm, while it’s not bad, I can do better. Store bought is store bought and homemade is homemade with homemade always being better.
I dug out a recipe that I believe my younger sister got from a friend of hers. A longtime childhood friend. I tweaked it by adding maple syrup (which I make) and added peanuts. If you have never had Caramel Popcorn, just imagine popcorn covered in a rich, buttery, hardened caramel sauce. It’s quick, easy, and fairly cheap to make. It is a very customizable treat for any holiday or occasion. A treat to always have on hand. Cheers!!
1/3 to 1/2 cup popcorn kernels – pop the way you like. I use a hot air popper.
1 cup dry roasted peanuts or peanuts with or without skins (optional).
1/2 cup unsalted or salted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1. Pop your corn and place in a large roasting pan. One in which you would cook a large turkey. Add your peanuts to the popcorn if you are using.
2. In a medium size pot over medium heat, add butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, and salt. Stir until sugar is just about dissolved and then lower heat to medium low and let it come to a boil without stirring. Let it boil for 3 to 4 minutes. I find 4 minutes works best for me.
3. Add vanilla and stir. Add baking soda and stir and it will poof up a bit and get light colored.
4. Immediately drizzle over the popcorn. Takes two hands. I use a wooden spoon in one hand to stir while drizzling. Once you have drizzled all your caramel sauce over the popcorn, use two spoons or one spoon and one gloved hand to mix all the popcorn so it is all covered. Just be careful, the caramel is hot and can burn through the glove.
5. Place on a large parchment covered sheet pan. Spread it all out.
6. If you want it chewy, let it cool on the counter. If you want it crunchy (which I prefer), then preheat your oven to 250 degrees and let it bake for 20 minutes. Then let it cool on a wire rack on the counter. Delicious!!!
*Note: Once cooled, break into smaller pieces if desired. Store in an airtight container. People will rave about this Caramel Popcorn!! It is so easy and buttery good!! Enjoy!!
Cheers, Drew Frederic