Munchy crunchy yummy caramel corn! Now who doesn’t love caramel corn, especially this time of year? This caramel corn is super easy to make and it is oh so delicious! It has just the right amount of caramel and crunch, it is just perfect. I packaged it up to take with us this weekend on our annual family campout. I can’t wait to share this yummy treat with everyone!
The caramel sauce does require one particular ingredient that I am not a big fan of, the dreaded corn syrup. I went on a search for a substitute and though there are pleanty of substitutes for corn syrup as a sweetener, there really aren’t many ways around it when making candy. I found a recipe that does not use any, but I was afraid that the caramel just wouldn’t set up like it should (I plan to try it another time to compare though). I read this article by the well respected David Lebovitz and I felt it made a lot of sense. It is much different when you use the corn syrup in your own recipe than when you are buying the high fructose version in processed foods. The Karo brand corn syrup no longer contains high fructose corn syrup either. When at my baking class the other day, I asked the chef there and she said that they use glucose (which they buy in bulk from a baking supply store), and I used it in the batch that we made there and it didn’t taste any different from this batch that I made at home. I researched this a little bit when I got home to see if I could find it at a whole food market. It turns out that Wilton caries a glucose that you can buy to use in making gum paste, however it is still glucose from corn syrup! So when you buy light corn syrup at the store you are getting the whole syrup, the fructose and the glucose portions, and the glucose is obviously just glucose. Since it all came from corn syrup anyway and since this is candy and not something we eat that often or that much of, I felt better just sticking to the recipe.
Regardless of the corn syrup, I highly recommend this tasty treat. It isn’t something anyone of us should eat that much of anyway, even though it is so hard to stop once you start!Caramel Corn Printer Friendly Version
1 cup popcorn kernels, unpopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup light corn syrup
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pop popcorn using your preferred method. Place the popped popcorn in a very large bowl (or two large bowls). Make sure there is enough room in your bowls for tossing the popcorn.
Preheat the oven to 250° F. Meanwhile, to make the caramel, melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, mix in the corn syrup, brown sugar and salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.
Once the mixture reaches a boil, let the mixture continue to boil for 5 more minutes stirring. Remove the mixture from the heat, stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract. The mixture will bubble up and become frothy. Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn in the bowl(s) and toss to coat thoroughly.
Spread the popcorn evenly onto two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 50-60 minutes, removing from the oven to toss/stir every 10 minutes. After 50 minutes, test a cooled piece of popcorn. If it is not completely crispy, then bake for 10 more minutes.
Remove the baking sheets to a wire rack and allow popcorn to cool completely before breaking apart for serving or packaging