I stumbled across this recipe this past New Year’s and it was a huge hit! So, this is now our “special movie night” popcorn.
Here it is; my notes are in italics:
Baked Caramel Popcorn
Adapted from 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes
5 cups air popped popcorn – we use 2 cups for our family of 5 and 5 cups for parties.
6 Tbsp butter, or non-dairy substitute – we recommend cutting the butter into 6 chunks to help it melt faster
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c dark corn syrup – light corn syrup works well too
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 200*. Pour popcorn into a LARGE bowl and set aside. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray.
In a medium sauce pot, put butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, sea salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Set to medium heat. While stirring, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. If the sugar beads on the side of the pot, use a damp paper towel to wipe down the sides. This will prevent it from further sugar crystals. Remove pan from heat and pour in baking soda. The caramel sauce may foam, so do not let it foam over the sides of the sauce pan.
Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn and stir immediately, and evenly. ***You can stop here and just eat it out of the bowl, like the old fashion caramel popcorn your grandma use to make. It is very very good! ***
When all the popcorn is evenly coated, or as evenly as it can be, spread the popcorn out on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, and then stir the popcorn. Repeat this twice more, for a total of 45 minutes of baking. We found the popcorn to be perfect after 30 minutes of baking. At this point there may be a lot of liquid, this is normal. Change the temperature to 375*. Watch the popcorn carefully, to make sure it does not burn. Stir it occasionally. Our tightened really quick, so keep an eye out it. It may only need a few minutes. After about 15 minutes, the liquid will tightened around the popcorn. Remove baking sheet from oven, pour into another waiting bowl, and serve.
Makes 2-5 cups
Store in an air tight container, OR leave out on counter overnight and serve with milk for breakfast.
Variation: Stir in peanuts for a salty taste and bake. Or if you choose not to bake it, add a handful of chocolate chips and stir for chocolate caramel popcorn!