Caramel Popcorn

Jars of Caramel PopcornI love making homemade edible goodies for stocking stuffers. Last year, it was caramels and orange-flavored hard candies. This year, I’m returning to an old favorite: caramel popcorn.

My recipe comes from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking. It’s been almost five years since I started eating eggs and dairy again, but the recipes in this book are so good that I keep coming back to it! The instructions below contain a few of my own précisions.

Caramel Popcorn

This is great feline entertainment.
Popping corn is great feline entertainment.

This recipe makes about 14 cups. (The recipe can easily be doubled if you have two roasting pans or high-sided cookie sheets.)

1. Grease a large oven pan like a roasting pan or high-sided cookie sheet.

2. Pop your popcorn. You’ll need about 3/4 C. of kernels or one bag of microwave popcorn. I pop ours in a cute little nostalgic popcorn popper. Pour the popped popcorn onto the greased pan. At this point, you can mix in some peanuts if you choose.

3. Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C).

4. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 C. butter or margarine1 C. firmly packed brown sugar, 1/4 C. light corn syrup, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to blend. Once at a boil, boil for five minutes, stirring constantly.

Caramel coating5. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in 1/4 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. The mixture will foam a little when you stir in the baking soda. Immediately pour over the popcorn and stir to coat. As Patrick-Goudreau says, you don’t have to worry too much at this point about getting all the popcorn coated. You’ll be stirring it several times as it bakes.

6. Bake for 1 hour, removing the pan to stir every 15 minutes. The stirring is crucial–it keeps your popcorn from congealing into one solid block!

7. After an hour, line the counter or table with wax paper. Pour popcorn out onto the wax paper and separate any big chunks. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container. I like to package mine in mason jars with a little square of holiday fabric to decorate.

Caramel popcorn cooling
This is a double batch–enough for 7 quart-jar stocking stuffers!
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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    What a great idea for teacher gifts too!

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