Recipe video above. The secret to a great caramel popcorn that's evenly coated with caramel with a thin, crispy coating of caramel (rather that globs of sticky caramel) is baking soda and baking the popcorn to dry it out. This caramel corn stays crispy for 2+ weeks!!! CARAMEL COVEREAGE: Use 1/3 cup kernels for full caramel coverage (very sweet, like candy pieces), 3/4 cup for "normal" (see in post for photo and description).
Course: Dessert, Sweet
Keyword: caramel corn, Caramel popcorn, food gift ideas
Servings: 8- 12
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats
For the popcorn
1/4 cup (60ml)vegetable oil(not required if air popping with a popcorn maker)
1/3cuppopping corn(10 cups popcorn, Note 1 for lighter caramel coverage)
For the caramel
100g / 7 tbspbutter, unsalted
1 cup (220g)brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (170g)corn syrup, light (sub glucose, Note 2 more subs)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add a few pieces of popcorn and wait until it pops, then quickly remove.
Add remaining popcorn, elevate off stove to shake and spread corn out evenly. Cover with a lid. Once the popcorn starts popping in earnest, shake the pot gently once.
Remove from heat when the popping stops (when you can count to 3 between pops) and transfer to a (very!) large bowl. You need 10 cups of popcorn.
Preheat oven to 110°C/230°F.
Melt butter in a saucepaan over medium heat.
Add sugar, corn syrup and salt. Stir until just combined.
When it starts to bubble, simmer for 4 minutes - DO NOT STIR!
Remove from heat then quickly whisk in vanilla and baking soda. When you stop whisking, the caramel will foam and increase in volume.
Quickly pour straight over popcorn, toss until caramel cools and starts to harden.
Baking to crisp:
Spread popcorn on 2 baking trays.
Bake for 45 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or so. Caramel will remelt for the first 2-3 tosses - tossing coats popcorn more evenly with caramel. (If using glucose or honey, bake further 15 minutes).
Remove from oven, leave to cool. Gently break into pieces and serve. Stays crisp 2 - 3 weeks!
1. Caramel coverage - 1/3 cup popcorn kernels will give you full caramel coverage on each popcorn. This makes the popcorn like candy - it's very sweet! I use 3/4 cups popcorn for "normal" coverage - it's still sweet, but not intensely sweet where every piece feels like you're eating candy. See in post for photo comparison.2. Corn Syrup is called for to stabilise the caramel to ensure sugar crystallisation doesn't occur. Corn syrup is a common grocery item in the US and Canada - I stock up every time I go! It can be purchased online in Australia from USAFoods.com.au (here).Glucose is a perfect substitute for corn syrup which is available in Australian supermarkets (baking aisle, clear thick syrup with honey consistency). However, the popcorn needs to be baked for 15 minutes longer (because glucose as higher water content).More substitutions - the following will alter flavour slightly (because corn syrup and glucose are flavourless) but in terms of coating and crispiness, they work perfectly:
honey (bake 15 minutes longer)
I don't recommend molasses because the flavour is bit too intense. Haven't tried with maple syrup because it's much thinner, it will need to boil for longer which makes flavour dilute.3. Storage - stays 100% crisp and fresh for 2 - 3 weeks in an airtight container!