I’ve been looking into popcorn makers for a few weeks, and I could never get myself to actually pull the plug and buy one. I couldn’t justify spending the $20+ to buy something for the sole purpose of making popcorn.
Even though I had been having a horrible, almost pregnancy style craving for caramel corn. Which is funny since normally I am NOT a fan.
I go through phases. You get used to it.
Then we were bumming around a thrift store and I found one for $4.99! It seemed to work when I plugged it in at the thrift store to test it, so I figured why not take a chance. So far this has been my favorite thing I’ve gotten from a thrift store.
So of course I had to go home immediately and make popcorn! Never mind that it was late at night, I filled the machine full and just let it rip! I really wasn’t thinking clearly, I was just excited to see the kernels start popping and everything start spitting out. In the end I was left with a HUGE bowl of popcorn and no idea what to do with it.
I quickly went to the internet and found a recipe for caramel corn! I thought it would be super hard and totally difficult to make, but it’s rather easy. The only tough part is actually waiting enough time for it to finish crisping in the oven before eating it.
And stirring. Ever tried to stir something on to popcorn with a spatula? It’s really rather obnoxious stuff.
I melted the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup together, before adding the rest of the ingredients. I have to say, hot butter and sugar together make the house smell delicious, the only thing that’s better is hot melted chocolate and butter. Mmm…
When I stirred in the baking soda it started to foam up on me and turned a very interesting texture. It was almost fluffy.
I put the popcorn in the largest pot I had and tried to pour the mixture over the popcorn slowly and stir at the same time. That was a failure. Just dump a good portion of it in and stir it up as much as possible before adding another portion, stir, and keep doing that until it’s all covered as best you can.
Like I said, stirring popcorn is obnoxious.
Then comes the real torture. You have to bake it in the oven until it reaches your preferred level of crispy/chewiness. The sweet and buttery smell will permeate your whole house while it bakes, it makes my mouth water and my husband come sniffing around for samples when I stir it periodically.
So far I’ve found that it needs to be stirred every 15 minutes or so, and usually let it bake for at least an hour, so that’s around 3-4 stirs.
As the time passes and you stir it, you can sample it to see what texture you like the best. I like mine super crispy, but having it be slightly chewy is nice also.
This makes a huge amount of caramel corn, and each time I’ve made it we have both eaten ourselves sick on it. It is literally too good to leave alone. We’ve even gotten to the point where we had started pawning it off on some of our friends.
Now they ask (or demand, depending on the person) to know when the next shipment of their new favorite treat is going to arrive.
It really is that heavenly, and that easy.
This will make enough to just barely fit in a gallon sized zip top bag. Which is a whole lot of caramel corn!
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 quarts popped popcorn (150g unpopped if using a scale)
- Preheat oven to 250F degrees. Place popcorn in a very large bowl or pot. You need enough room to stir things up a bit.
- In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.
- Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour over popcorn, either in a thin stream or in batches, stirring to coat as much as possible.
- Spread semi evenly over 1 or 2 large baking sheets and bake for roughly an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so and breaking up any large pieces. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pans to redistribute any caramel sauce that has dripped to the bottom. Cook for until desired level of crispy or chewiness is achieved.
- Cool completely before storing in an air tight container.