Homemade Caramel Corn Recipe
Homemade caramel corn is a classic treat that combines the rich, sweet flavor of caramel with the satisfying crunch of popcorn. Making it at home allows you to customize the level of sweetness and enjoy a freshly prepared snack. This recipe will guide you through creating this delectable treat step by step.
- 12 cups of popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup unpopped kernels)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat Your Oven:
Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set it aside.
2. Pop the Popcorn:
Pop your popcorn kernels using your preferred method. Remove any un-popped kernels and place the popped popcorn in a large mixing bowl. You can also use store-bought plain popcorn if you prefer.
3. Make the Caramel Sauce:
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt.
- Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring constantly. Once it starts boiling, stop stirring.
- Allow the mixture to boil for 4-5 minutes without stirring. It should reach a temperature of 250°F (120°C) on a candy thermometer. This will give you the perfect caramel consistency.
4. Add Baking Soda and Vanilla:
- Remove the caramel mixture from heat and carefully stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract. The mixture will bubble up, so be cautious.
5. Coat the Popcorn:
- Immediately pour the hot caramel sauce over the popped popcorn. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to gently fold and coat the popcorn with the caramel sauce. Be careful as the caramel will be very hot.
6. Bake the Caramel Corn:
- Spread the caramel-coated popcorn onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. This will help ensure that all the popcorn is evenly coated with the caramel.
7. Cool and Break Apart:
- Remove the caramel corn from the oven and allow it to cool completely on the baking sheet. It will continue to harden as it cools.
- Once cooled, break the caramel corn into clusters or individual pieces.
8. Enjoy Your Homemade Caramel Corn:
- Your homemade caramel corn is ready to enjoy! Store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- To prevent the caramel from sticking to your spatula or spoon while stirring, lightly grease it with cooking spray or butter.
- Be cautious when working with hot caramel as it can cause severe burns. Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
- Feel free to customize your caramel corn by adding nuts (like peanuts or almonds) or drizzling melted chocolate over it after it cools.
Homemade caramel corn makes for a delightful snack, party favor, or homemade gift. Enjoy the perfect blend of sweet, crunchy, and buttery goodness with this easy-to-follow recipe!