Homemade Caramel Corn is one of those sweet-salty treats that I cannot resist! Park a bowlful in front of me during a football game and it will be devoured by halftime!
Irresistible Caramel Corn
I only make caramel corn about once a decade and I was overdue. I could eat the whole batch myself, and the picky family doesn’t give me any competition, darn them! I hosted a gathering when my sister was visiting, and it was the perfect opportunity to make a batch. She, unfortunately for me, was eying all the savory treats instead of assisting me with the caramel corn. Thank goodness my mother-in-law was in town, too, and she graciously munched with me after dinner nearly every night!
Yes, You Can Make Your Own Caramel Corn!
I often forget that not everyone cooks and bakes as much as I do. At the party, one of my girlfriends spied the bowl of caramel corn, and looked at me with a puzzled expression. “You bought this, didn’t you?” When I told her I made it, she admitted that it never dawned on her that you could actually make caramel corn. Yes, you can and it’s worth it. It would be a wonderful family activity when you’re trapped in the house on a cold weekend this winter. The molten caramel sauce needs to be made and drizzled on the corn by an adult, but older children can help with the stirring if they’re very careful. And if not, I bet they’ll help with the eating! Feel free to add peanuts to make more of a Cracker Jack type poporn or leave out the nuts altogether.
- 3 bags microwave popcorn, (I use Natural Simply Salted Orville Redenbacher), popped with unpopped kernels removed
- 1-2 cups roasted cashews, optional
- 1 cup dried cherries, optional
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Place the popped popcorn and cashews in a large roasting pan. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200º.
- Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Heat on low and stir till butter is melted. Bring to boil over medium heat, then cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or till candy thermometer reaches 250º (I recommend using a thermometer). Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla, mixing well (mixture will foam up).
- Immediately pour caramel over popcorn and stir to coat (kernels won't be totally covered at this point).
- Bake for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. If using cherries, add them at about the halfway point.