Introduction: Caramel Corn

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The perfect balance of crunchy and sweet, this caramel corn recipe is going to knock your socks off!  I've searched, scoured and experimented to find you the best caramel popcorn recipe, and I think you will be pleased.  Never before have I experienced such a harmonious balance of flavor and crunchiness in caramel corn, and  I'm thrilled to be able to share it with you.

A great addition to any holiday spread, caramel popcorn also makes a great gift, and takes very little effort to make.  So get in the kitchen and get started!

Step 1: Ingredients

  • 12 cups popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped kernels)
  • 2/3 heaping cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  ignore the chocolate bar.  it's not a part of this recipe


Step 2: Pop Corn

Pop corn according to your own preference.  If you have an air popper, I think that's the way to go.  If not, I recommend Papa Donaldson's method, chronicled here.  I tend to eschew microwave popcorn, but if you can find it without the weird butter-chemical toppings (and they do make it!), go for it. 

Heat your oven to 250oF (120oC).  Coat a baking or roasting pan with cooking spray or butter.  Toss the popcorn in the dish and keep warm in the oven.

Step 3: Gooey Goodness

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup.

Heat, without stirring, to 250 to 265 degrees F (121 to 129 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a rigid ball.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Step 4: Marry Caramel With Corn

Pour syrup over popcorn and stir to coat.

Return popcorn to oven for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.  Any less time and you corn may turn out soft and gooey, instead of the crisp, caramelly joy you could be enjoying.  It is worth your patience on this step.  

Store in an airtight container, or you will be sad like I was, and find your once perfect corn has turned mushy on you.  Delicious yes, but far more prone to making your teeth stick together in an unpleasant way.

This recipe is going to knock your socks off, I assure you.  Next week, I hope to supply you with the perfect chocolate coating to top off this miraculous corn (currently still in the testing stages).  Woot!

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