Once a week we have a family movie night. Usually this involves some kind of Disney cartoon and a big bowl of popcorn, which is devoured eagerly while we all snuggle in together on our well-used couch. This past week I decided to change things up a bit and make caramel corn, and it was a hit. It’s a bit more effort than some butter and salt, but you won’t regret the time spent.
RecipeAdapted from Flourless by Nicole Spiridakis
- 10 cups freshly popped popcorn (about ¾ cup unpopped corn)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¾ teaspoon salt (you can use up to 1 ½ teaspoons if you like your popcorn extra salty)
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- ¾ cup unsalted peanuts
Preheat your oven to 250 F. Line a rimmed half sheet pan with parchment paper. Oil or spray a large bowl and put the popped popcorn in it.
In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Whisk in the brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, and water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to let the mixture simmer, and whisk often, until it registers 250 F on a candy thermometer (about 3-4 minutes). Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the baking soda and vanilla (the baking soda will foam up a bit). Quickly pour the hot caramel over the popcorn.
Gently fold the caramel into the popcorn, doing your best to evenly coat it. Stir in the peanuts and place the mixture on the sheet pan, spreading it out over the pan. Bake for 1 hour, stirring and turning the popcorn every 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Break up the popcorn into pieces and serve. (Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.)