Desserts, Episodes, Recipes

Caramel Corn

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved caramel corn.  Ok, I might be showing my age here, but we used to tear into boxes of Cracker Jacks like there was no tomorrow.  That was absolutely our favorite treat at the movies. Then Fiddle-faddle came along and stole my heart. OH YUM!!! I mean it had almonds, and pecans!! Two of my absolute favorite nuts, uhh it was over, I was in love.  I mean there’s just something about that buttery, sweet, crunchy taste of caramel corn. OOOHhh I could cry it’s so good! It just makes all right with the world.

So today, with no further ado,  I’ve decided to dust off one of my favorite cookbooks “Better Homes & Gardens,” 1976, and make up a batch of caramel corn. This is by no means a copy cat for Cracker Jacks, or Fiddle-Faddle, but it’s gonna knock your socks off if you’re a caramel corn lover.  AND, it’s homemade, puh-lease, you can’t beat that!

I actually surprised at how easy this recipe turned out to be. Now, I’m really having a hard time convincing myself that caramel corn isn’t the fifth food group. Ha! I’d literally find an excuse to eat this everyday if I could.  Ok, so enough talk, let’s get cooking.  Scroll down to see the recipe and my favorite tools to use to make this recipe.

make a batch of yellow corn popcorn

I used my amazing theater style popcorn machineto make a batch of yellow corn popcorn.  Our family absolutely loves theater style popcorn, so we took the plunge and got this machine.  Since then, it’s been the star of just about every movie night. Now, I totally love my popcorn machine but you could use just about anything to pop some kernels.  In a pinch, put some oil in a stove top popcorn popper, add kernels and wait for the awesomeness to happen.  The biggest thing is pop the popcorn.

whisk the butter, honey, vanilla, and baking soda all together at once

Now that the popcorn is all popped, I’m ready to start the caramel.  In a medium sized sauce pan, I used my favorite skillet and it was smooth sailing.  I whisked the butter, honey, vanilla, and baking soda all together at once.  My stove was set to about medium to low because I didn’t want it to cook to fast.

Whisk together the ingredients, and keep them moving

Whisk together the ingredients, and keep them moving.  I love this part.  Watching the caramel actually turn into caramel was the exciting part.  Doesn’t look like much, but I guarantee it’s gonna get better.

The bubbles started slowly, and I could tell the mixture was really starting to come together

Still not caramel yet, but we’re getting closer.  The bubbles started slowly, and I could tell the mixture was really starting to come together.  Hard to believe this butter substitute is acting almost identical to butter in this recipe.

Moving right along and these large bubbles let me know the caramel is thickening

Moving right along and these large bubbles let me know the caramel is thickening, and everything is coming together. You’ll want to keep whisking here.  It’s almost done.  I was really tempted to taste it, but I know at this stage it would totally melt my poor little tongue.

I'm whisking just to keep the sauce from settling for too long in one spot. At this point the entire kitchen smelled like a caramel factory

This is just about ready at this point.  I’m whisking just to keep the sauce from settling for too long in one spot.  At this point the entire kitchen smelled like a caramel factory.  I knew that it wouldn’t be long now.  Did I mention that we should preheat the oven.  Yep, set it to like 325 degrees.  I didn’t really think the baking stage would make that much of a difference, but OMGoodness did it ever!

Now we're ready to pour this hot caramel sauce right over our popcorn

Now we’re ready to pour this hot caramel sauce right over our popcorn.  I found that you’ve got to move fast as the caramel sauce will stick to the bottom of the skillet pretty quickly.  It pours very easy though.  By this time, I wasn’t quite sure how the popcorn would accept the caramel.  It seemed like it would end up being kinda chewy.

Mixing the caramel sauce is really an important step here

Mixing the caramel sauce is really an important step here.  I wanted to make sure to coat every single kernel with this tasty sauce.  Oh did I mention I tasted it.  Oh yes, I had to take a tiny peek, and it was REALLY good, so I was hopeful that our final result would be awesome.

Lining the tray with parchment paper really helped with keeping the sauce where I wanted it

Lining the tray with parchment paper really helped with keeping the sauce where I wanted it. Now to add it to the oven for a 45 minute bake at 350 degrees. I worked really hard to coat each kernel with caramel sauce.  Now the fruits of our labor are put into the hands of the oven.  Be kind oven, PLEASE!!

After a seemingly eternal 45 minute wait the caramel corn was ready to come out of the oven

After a seemingly eternal 45 minute wait the caramel corn was ready to come out of the oven.  THANK THE LORD , because it smelled so good I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to cool and then away we went.  The kids thundered down the stairs to get first dibs on this delicious treat.  Even hubby came out of his man cave for a taste.

The kids thundered down the stairs to get first dibs on this delicious treat.

This was absolutely PHENOMENAL! This caramel corn was snappy, crispy, crunchy, buttery, sweet and just DELICIOUS!

This was absolutely PHENOMENAL! This caramel corn was snappy, crispy, crunchy, buttery, sweet and just DELICIOUS! It was better than a Fiddle Faddle copy cat, better than Cracker Jacks, better than the popcorn in the Christmas tins.  Oh yum, this is definitely a recipe that we will enjoy again, and again. Enjoy!