I’m not a big caramel corn fan. Let me clarify: I don’t really like Cracker Jacks or any other hard, super crunchy, almost burnt-tasting popcorn with nuts mixed in. Blech. But I love, gooey caramel corn that is heavy on the caramel. I think I could probably eat bark chips covered in gooey caramel! Anyway, my friend Heather makes delicious caramel corn. On really lucky days, the doorbell rings and it is Heather’s kids with a big bowl of this stuff. My husband and I give a little chunk to our children and then eat the rest. Shameful behavior, and yet…
about 3/4 cup unpopped popcorn
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Karo syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pop the popcorn however you like. We have one of those old-timey things with a crank that you turn while it sits on your stove-top.
Very fun, highly recommend it! Set the popped popcorn aside in a large bowl. In a heavy saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and Karo syrup; stir. Bring to a boil over medium heat without stirring, and, using a candy thermometer, cook to the soft ball stage (234 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit). Like I said, I like my caramel gooey, so I took it off the heat as soon as it hit 234. However, next time I make caramel corn, I will probably let it cook just a little longer, probably until it hits the mid to upper end of the temperature range. After removing the caramel from the heat, add baking soda, vanilla, and salt, and stir. Pour mixture oven popcorn and gently stir with a big spoon or spatula until popcorn is evenly coated. Let cool before eating.