Friday, December 21, 2012

YAH: Homemade Caramel Corn

My mom has made caramel corn for Christmas for as long as I can remember. It's been a favorite holiday treat in our family. A few years ago I made it with her and realized how easy it was. Ever since then, I've been the one in charge of bringing the caramel corn to our family christmas get-togethers. I've made several batches already this week and so I decided I might as well take some pictures along the way and share the recipe with you!
Baked Caramel Corn
5 quarts popped popcorn
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
Paper grocery bags (I always stock up this time of year)

Pop corn first.
Pour the popcorn into a paper bag. I make sure not to dump the whole thing in there because I want to avoid the seeds at the bottom of the bowl. I also cut the tops off the paper bags to make it easier when I have to stir in the caramel.
In a sauce pan, melt butter over low heat.
Then add brown sugar, salt and corn syrup. Turn heat up to medium and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Boil 5 minutes without stirring.
While you are waiting, get your vanilla and baking soda ready. When the 5 minutes are up, remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir while you slowly add in the vanilla and soda. If you are going to burn it, this is when it usually happens. Make sure you are stirring when you add the vanilla! If my husband is around, I have him pour it in while I am stirring. It will puff up fairly quickly.
Pour the caramel over the popcorn in the paper bag and stir. Be careful! Caramel will be very, very hot!!
Don't worry about it being completely coated at first. Close the bag and put it in the microwave for 1 minute. Make sure the bag is spinning in the microwave and doesn't get stuck.
Give the bag a little shake, open it up and stir again. Fold it back up and put it in the microwave upside down for another minute.
Give it another shake and stir some more. If it's still not coated you can put it in again for another minute, but in all the years I've been making this I've never had to do it a third time. Dump out the caramel corn into a roasting pan or cake pans to cool.
Use a spoon or your hands to break up the clumps as it cools. And feel free to taste it while it's warm! When cooled, store in an air-tight container,
or give away to friends and neighbors!
Some tips:
*Always use a clean bag for each batch to prevent caramel from burning.
*I rinse or wash out the pan between batches.
*Pop all your corn first, no matter how many batches you're making. It gets pretty crazy if you have popcorn popping, caramel boiling, and caramel popcorn spinning in the microwave all at the same time!

If you want all the directions in a nice paragraph, here you go:
Pop corn first. Pour into large paper bag. In sauce pan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Turn up the heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and quickly stir while you slowly add vanilla and baking soda. Pour over popcorn in bag and stir. Close bag and microwave for 1 minute. Shake up and stir caramel corn. Close bag and return to microwave with bag upside down for 1 more minute. Shake and stir again and pour caramel corn into pans to cool. Continue stirring or breaking up clumps with fingers until completely cooled.

So there you have it! Trust me, everyone will love it!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

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