I make popcorn almost every night. Usually 30 minutes after the kids are in bed, being certain they are asleep so we don’t have to share. Yes, we’re mean that way.
The dogs dart into the pantry as I scoop the kernels; then stand by my side, heads cocked, transfixed on the sound of the popping. Pop. Pop. Poppoppoppoppopoppopop!
Life without popcorn would be a sad life. And none of this brown paper bag, dry, air popped nonsense. No. Popcorn was meant to be made in a pot, with oil. And salt. And butter. So there.
And now I’ve decided it needs to be coated in caramel.
Oh my. THIS.
My whole life I’ve been eating caramel corn, but had no idea how easy it was to make at home. It’s my new favorite snack. I didn’t think anything could be more addictive than the candied pecans, but holy mother. This is a contender.
A couple cups in a cello bag with bow and it’s a perfect little gift for neighbors, teachers, and friends…if you can stop eating it yourself!
(Christmas) Caramel Popcorn
Makes approx. 14 cups
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
• 1/2 cup popcorn kernels, popped
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter
• 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
• 1/3 cup light corn syrup
• scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• red and green food coloring
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray 2, 9×13 pans with cooking spray. Divide the popcorn evenly among the two pans.
In a medium pot, melt together the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Continue to boil and stir over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla.
Divide the caramel between two medium bowls, add red food coloring to one, green food coloring to the other until you reach the desired shades (I used 10 drops each.) Working very fast, pour one bowl of caramel over one pan of popcorn. Toss to coat. Repeat with the other bowl of caramel and pan of popcorn.
Place pans in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, rotating pans and stirring each pan with a spatula coated with cooking spray every 15 minutes. Cool completely before serving.