I have been on this homemade kick, which means making things from scratch I typically buy. It started with the spiced peach butter. Next I tried to make fruit leather, which was a crunchy disaster. Then, this past weekend there was granola (which I will post about in the near future).
But, this post is about Caramel Corn. I love the taste of fresh popcorn. The stuff in the bag and microwave just really do not compare to fresh popped popcorn. I also love caramel corn. I have only had the packed stuff, so I wanted to see if I could recreate the fresh taste I love mixed with butter caramel and salty peanuts, of course.
This all started off because I bought a hot air popper. I wanted to pop fresh kernels without the fat. Yes, hot air poppers still do exist and no, it is not used from the 80’s. I have had the popper for over 2 weeks and never even opened the box.
I get in from work one day and decide I wanted a snack. Fresh popcorn was the snack of choice. I popped up one bowl to snack on quickly. I was so impressed and really just plain old giddy about the popper that I continued to pop more and more popcorn, more than I or a family of six, could ever eat.
At that moment I decided to try out the caramel corn recipe I looked up a few weeks when I bought the popper. The recipe calls for 8 quarts of popcorn; I used more like 9 or 10. I LOVED the taste of this recipe. It was a Paula Dean recipe, so you know it contained a vast amount of two things 1) sugar and 2) BUTTER! But, it was so worth it, yal!
I used a ruby red blend of popcorn purchased from target. You can see some of the red part of the kernel shell on the popped kernels; I thought this was cool. Because I used so much popcorn, not all the kernels were complete covered. I actually like it this way. I got sweet but not cloyingly so. I was rich, buttery, sweet, salty, and most of all, delicious!
Homemade Caramel Corn
(adapted from Paula Dean’s Grandpa Paul’s Caramel Corn recipe)
8-10 quarts popcorn
1 cup peanuts (optional)
1 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Pop 8-10 quarts of popcorn. Line a large roasting pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
Pour popcorn in pan and set aside. If using peanuts sprinkle on top of popcorn.
2. Preheat oven to 200F.
3. Over medium heat combine butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup and bring to a boil.
4. Let the mixture boil for five minutes before removing from heat.
5. Once off heat, stir in vanilla. Stir in baking soda.
6. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and stir to evenly coat popcorn.
7. Bake the popcorn for one hour, removing the pan every 15 minutes to stir the popcorn so it will not stick together.
8. Once done baking, spread the popcorn on a sheet of parchment paper to cool.
9. Eat or bag up as desired. Remember to share!