This caramel corn is lightly sweet and oh so buttery and crunchy! And the recipe is seriously easy. If you worry that your caramel corn will turn out sticky, fear not! Just follow these instructions and it will turn out light and crunchy. As it bakes, the caramel turns golden, and the butter toasts which adds a delicious browned-butter flavor to the confection.
I have to say that, earlier in my cooking career I tried many caramel corn recipes that ended up chewy, and that is not what I was after so I gave up . But recently I became determined to make it successfully after eating some very delicious caramel corn at a street fair. It can’t be that hard! Still, I had to work through a couple disasters but finally came up with this foolproof recipe.
I tried the microwave recipes, but they didn’t work for me. Probably partly because my microwave is tiny, and I couldn’t put a huge amount of popped corn in it. Maybe also I didn’t have the “touch” of what to do when… At any rate, this slow oven method is easy, relaxed and successful.
If you follow it, you will have success the first time and every time.
- 2 gallons of popped popcorn - (about 30 cups)
- 1 cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
- You will need two very big oven pans, buttered generously.
- Pop the corn and pour into the prepared oven pans.
- In a saucepan, heat the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt until the butter is melted and the mixture begins to boil. Allow to boil for about a minute. Take off the heat and add the baking soda and vanilla, stir and watch it turn creamy colored and foam up. Once thoroughly mixed, pour over the popcorn in the pans, then stir the popcorn to mix the sauce evenly. Do your best, it will not mix perfectly evenly, but each time you stir it will become more and more even.
- Bake in the oven at 250 for 20 minutes, take out of oven and stir briefly, return to oven, bake another 20 minutes, remove from oven and stir. Repeat this process until the caramel corn is crisp; it should take three or four stirrings. To find out if it’s ready, you will have to do a taste test! The caramel corn needs to be cool in order to know if it is crunchy, so I put a small sample in the freezer for a minute or two then taste it. You will know when it’s ready.
- Store in a tightly closed container such as a zip lock bag.
To gift, I used Evermine’s large cellophane bags, tied them tightly closed with twine and topped them with a customized bottle hanger. This recipe makes about three of these large packages of caramel corn.