This classic caramel corn recipe is so satisfying and delicious! Your children and/or grandchildren will label you the best Mom or Grandma when you serve this treat. I personally can not help but love that chewy, sticky goodness coated over the popcorn! Caramel corn makes a great snack. We like to make it in the fall when the weather starts to cool down.
Be warned, once you start snacking on this tasty treat, you will become addicted. It is so hard to stop eating! Your friends and family will love you forever, if you gift them with a big container for Halloween or Christmas.
- 24 to 25 cups (2 large batches) popped corn*
- 3 to 4 cups peanuts, roasted or Spanish (optional)
- 2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly-packed
- 1 cup corn syrup, light
- 1 cup salted butter
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Popcorn can be air popped to reduce fat or cooked in oil (your choice). Cooking in oil will actually help the caramel corn separate easier to reduce clumping.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Lightly butter or use non-stick cooking spray in a large roasting pan.
Place the popped popcorn and peanuts in the prepared roasting pan. Place in the oven while the Caramel Sauce is cooking.
In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter.
Stir until smooth and melted. Increase heat to medium, stirring constantly until the caramel sauce begins to boil. Set a timer to boil for 5 minutes only, stirring occasionally during this phase. Let boil until the time is up or the temperature reaches 235 degrees F. on your cooking thermometer.
Immediately remove from heat and carefully stir in the vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt. Mixture will begin to boil violently and my spit out hot candy!
Using a long-handled wooden spoon, stir down the mixture until boiling subsides.
Pour the hot caramel syrup over popcorn and peanuts, stirring to evenly coat. Use a non-stick cooking spray on the spoon to help prevent the caramel corn from sticking to the spoon.
Place the roasting pan, with the coated popcorn and peanuts, in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes. The Caramel Corn is done when the caramel sauce has hardened into a crisp shell around every piece and no longer dripping to bottom of the pan.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Once cool, break apart any large clumps with your hands.
Store in airtight containers or resealable bags.
* Remember to remove any unpopped popcorn kernels.
I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer. Originally designed for professional use, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world. I only endorse a few products, on my web site, that I like and use regularly.
You can learn more or buy yours at: Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer.
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The flavor that makes Cracker Jacks unique from classic caramel corn is the molasses syrup added in. This is a copycat recipe that comes very close to the original and just as hard to stop eating!
Cheddar Cheese Popcorn
If you love cheese and popcorn, here is a good salty and cheesy snack! The secret to cheddar cheese popcorn is to use processed powdered cheese. Cheddar Cheese Popcorn is also used in the famous Chicago Mix Popcorn recipe.
A Chicago Mix is known to locals as caramel and cheddar cheese flavored popcorn kernels mixed up together creating an addictive sweet and salty snack combination. The Chicago Popcorn is a cheese and caramel combo that everyone loves the minute they try it.
These old-time popcorn balls are great anytime, but they’re especially fun to enjoy at Halloween or Christmas time.
Categories:Caramel Christmas Cooking Lessons - Cooking 101 Fall Great Lakes Halloween Kid Friendly Popcorn