Salted caramel corn is the best way to eat caramel corn! The simplicity of adding extra salt takes caramel corn to a whole new level and it is so difficult to stop eating this stuff! This recipe makes a large batch and is perfect for sharing during the holidays!
Remember last week when I told you that Mr. BB and I were eating cleanly? When I gave you a recipe and sexy pics of donuts and told you it was torture because I wasn’t eating sugar that week. Well that was in preparation for all this holiday baking that has now begun.
Our house has been filled with caramel corn, and sugar cookie bars, and soon even more cookies, and roasted nuts! BUT I will say that we are still shoveling in the greens, which I’m really proud of. Green smoothies for breakfast, huge salads for dinner, and caramel corn for dessert. It’s all about balance, right?
I am surprised to tell you that this was actually the first time I ever made caramel corn. I decided that salted caramel corn was absolutely the way to go. The salty/sweet combo will never get old in my book because it is just such a classic (and highly addictive) combo.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret. This stuff was made even better when I tossed a handful of it with a hand full of smoked almonds. The smoky flavor mixed with the salty and sweet was just a liiiitle bit dangerous. Possibly the food equivalent of crack.
The key to making caramel corn is to get all of your ingredients ready and pre-measured as well as knowing every step of the recipe well before you even get started. The process goes fast once you start and you can’t really stop to read the directions and measure ingredients in the middle of the process.
The other thing I recommend for making caramel corn is to use a really large bowl or pot to mix the popcorn with the caramel. Almost every recipe I read suggested laying the popcorn out on a sheet pan and then pouring the caramel over it and stirring. I don’t know how these people did that without getting popcorn all over the floor, but that is what happened when this messy baker tried it.
I made a second batch and folded it into the popcorn, using a stock pot as my vessel, and that was much more successful. And much less messy.
My other big tip when making caramel corn, or any recipe involving caramel, is to wash all of your dishes immediately. Otherwise you are going to have one heck of a time getting them clean! Ok, I confess. That tip is from my resident dishwasher, Mr. BB.
I’m warning you, this stuff is addictive. And now that I know just how quick and easy it is to make, it is a little dangerous. I think next time I’ll try some other spices and flavors. An apple pie spice would be amazing. Or I keep thinking that a white cheddar caramel corn would be insane! Amiright?! Adding to the list of to make!
Happy holiday baking!
- 15 cups popped plain popcorn (from about 1/2 cup kernels)
- 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP light corn syrup
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Measure out all of your ingredients and read the recipe a few times before you start cooking the caramel!
- Preheat your oven to 200F. Place the popped plain popcorn in a very large bowl or pot that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Prepare a half sheet pan, or large baking sheet with sides, by spraying with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Place the dark brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla in the a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture comes to a boil, continue cooking for 3 more minutes without stirring.
- Remove the caramel from the heat and quickly whisk in the baking soda. The mixture will start to foam up and become light in color. Whisk vigorously for about 10 seconds.
- Pour the caramel over the popcorn and quickly but gently fold it in.
- Pour the caramel coated popcorn over the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 200F for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
- Remove the caramel corn from the oven after 1 hour and immediately sprinkle generously with kosher salt and toss. Allow the caramel corn to cool on the baking sheet. You can break apart the large chunks if desired. It will become crispy as it cools.
- Store cooled caramel corn in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.