I hosted a few friends and family for a little get together this weekend (so. much. fun!!) and, of course, set up a little spread of some of my favorite snacks, dips, desserts, etc. I got a lot of great feedback on the food (most of it was GONE and we were not a very big crowd) and got asked for several of the recipes. I mentioned I’d post them on the blog in the upcoming weeks but after much insistence, this caramel corn recipe had to go up right away!
I first found this recipe on Baked Perfection and knew I had to give it a try. I decided to cut it in half cause I don’t have a turkey roaster pan or anything else large enough to stir 4 bags of popcorn and caramel around in. Yikes. Seriously, it’s a LOT of popcorn! For our get together I did make the full 4 bags of popcorn BUT I made it in two separate batches to keep in manageable.
One last thing to mention is that it is SO much cheaper to make your own caramel corn. Think about it. I buy a pack of 6 bags of microwave popcorn at Aldi for around $1.70 (about $0.28 per bag), unsalted butter quarters are only $1.69 for the 4-pack and you only need one, brown sugar is $1.19/bag (only need a cup),corn syrup is cheap if you buy a generic brand (and you only need a quarter cup), and baking soda and vanilla are likely already hanging out in your pantry. So for less than $2 you can whip up a batch of this that would likely cost you around $10-$15 (or more!) for a same-sized batch from a gourmet popcorn brand. Crazy. And this is so much fresher and amazing and…well, I’ll let you be the judge. 😉
Homemade Caramel Corn
2 bags microwave popcorn, popped (unpopped kernels removed)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup brown sugar (I use light)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
Pop popcorn, remove unpopped kernels and set aside in an extra large bowl. Melt the stick of butter on the stove over medium heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring frequently until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and continue to stir while boiling for 5 minutes.
Remove mixture from heat. Add baking soda and vanilla and stir well.
Pour caramel mixture over popcorn (this is when you’ll be happy you popped that popcorn and got it all ready to go first)
And stir gently. Once popcorn is totally coated, spread it into 2-9×13 baking pans (I used glass pyrex dishes but cake pans would be fine too) and pop into a 250 degree oven. The caramel corn will spend 45 minutes in the oven but don’t just stick it in there and walk away! Come back every 15 minutes and give it a little stir and rotate your pans. This will help keep it from clumping up too terribly much (though I like a few small clumps in mine!) and helps to distribute the caramel more evenly.
This is seriously so good. I could stuff my face with it all day long. I try to only make it if I have plans to give some away (makes a great addition to meals you are taking to a family who may have someone who is sick or injured, or recently had surgery, had a baby, experienced a loss, teacher’s gifts, secret santa, housewarming gifts, etc) or if I’m having people over…otherwise I would eat the entire batch and let’s just say that would be bad. I have no self-control. Sigh.
One more shot of the caramelly goodness. My oh my…I’m gonna have to go help myself to the remnants of this batch…if there’s any left. 😉