May 16, 2009

Caramel Popcorn

This recipe makes a crunchy caramel popcorn, kind of like Cracker Jacks but a hundred times better. But if you prefer chewy popcorn, simply reduce the baking time.

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 quarts popped popcorn (I use 3 to 4 packages of light butter microwave popcorn, with the unpopped kernels removed)
Nuts optional (I use pecans)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn in a very large bowl. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour mixture gradually over popcorn, stirring to coat. Place in two large shallow baking dishes (sprayed with cooking spray) and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

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