Adapted from Caramel Corn Recipe at SimplyRecipes.com
- 4–5 qt popped popcorn (from 2/3 C unpopped popcorn), un-popped kernels removed
- 2 C firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1/2 C dark corn syrup
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- 1 tsp salt, plus more
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Prepare a very large bowl with the pre-popped popcorn in it. Preheat an oven to 225°F (107°C).
- In a 4-quart heavy-bottomed pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, molasses, butter, and 1 tsp salt. Heat over medium-high heat until combined.
- Bring mixture to a boil. Boil while checking the temperature from time to time with the Thermapen until the temperature reaches 250°F (121°C) (subtract 1°F (0.56°C) for every 500 ft elevation where you are making the caramel).
- Remove the caramel from heat and stir in the baking soda. The caramel will foam quite a bit. Continue to stir until well combined.
- Pour the caramel into the popcorn and stir it together, folding the corn from the bottom up onto the top until it is well and evenly coated.
If you like gooey/sticky caramel corn, give it a sprinkle with a good pinch of kosher salt, let it cool and start eating! If you like it crunchy, keep going.
- To make crunchy caramel popcorn, pour it (pile it) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and place it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- When the timer sounds, put the popcorn back into the large mixing bowl, mix it around a few times to try to break up clumps. Add a hefty pinch of kosher salt for an extra punch of delicious flavor.
- Pour it back onto the rimmed sheet and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Remove the caramel corn from the pan to allow it to cool. Break up any large clumps.
- Dig in!
Play with the flavors a bit. Maybe add some cinnamon to the caramel while it’s cooking. Or add toasted pecans to the popcorn before adding the caramel. Make it yours!