Monday, February 22, 2010

Crunchy Caramel Corn

My father-in-law made caramel corn for us years ago. It was such a sweet and delicious snack. Oh, how I love crunchy caramel corn! It was better than any you could buy and I'm pretty sure I ate the entire bag by myself. YIKES! I saved the recipe but never made it as the mere thought of making caramel seemed too gooey and messy. The last time I ate caramel corn was years ago and then my FIL brought some over for New Years. Wow! Still the best stuff ever! 

I have TONS of popcorn packets from Costco (that's the first and last time I'll ever buy bulk popcorn!) so I wanted to serve some of it at my Bunco night. Rather than just putting out plain popcorn (which is great, too), I wanted to take it a step further and serve crunchy caramel corn. I used microwavable popcorn since I have so much of it (that's not my FIL's recipe as my MIL "hates" microwave popcorn), and you know, it turned out great! It was a little messy but not any more so than sticky rice krispie treats. After I tossed the popcorn in the caramel sauce and got it in the oven, I soaked everything in hot water which made clean-up a breeze. 

Honestly, the hardest part of making this was waiting to eat it...especially during the cooling period!

WARNING: This is EXTREMELY addictive!
Eat one piece and you're done for.

Crunchy Caramel Corn

Yield: 12-14 servings...could be A LOT less if one is unable to stop eating this tasty treat! :)

  • 2 sticks butter (I used 1 stick)
  • 2 c brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 c corn syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 bags microwaved popcorn, popped (approx. 12 c)
  1. Pop popcorn according to package directions. Put popcorn in a very LARGE bowl and discard ALL kernels.
  2. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Then, boil without stirring for 4 mins. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. 
  4. While caramel sauce is boiling, preheat oven to 225F and prep 2 baking sheets (use jelly roll-type pan that has sides) with foil and butter it.
  5. Gradually pour caramel sauce over popped popcorn and mix well. Be careful not to burn yourself! Divide into 2 prepared baking sheets and bake for 45 mins, stirring every 15 mins. Set your timer or you will burn your caramel.
  6. Remove from oven after 45 mins and cool completely before breaking into pieces. Store in airtight container.
Notes: Next time, I'll use 1 c brown sugar and agave syrup instead of corn syrup as a healthier alternative. But then again, I heard agave is just hype and that it's not a healthier alternative as it's processed, too. If you have additional info on agave, I'd love to hear from you. :) Thanks!

Source: Adapted from DG, my father-in-law

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