Monday, October 31, 2011

Caramel Corn

All the boys had another guys weekend up in San Luis Obispo, so we got another girls weekend in Laguna :) Last time we had a picnic at The Montage and played croquet. This time, we had a girls slumber party and we made homemade ice cream and caramel corn! Believe it or not, I still think we ate healthier than the boys did this weekend, haha. 
Laurie shared her mom's recipe for caramel corn and it was soooooo good. And easy too! It only takes about 5 minutes of work to actually make it, but then it sits in the oven for about another hour before it's ready. Overall, I was surprised at how simple it was to make homemade caramel and get delicious crunchy caramel corn on demand!
Since our girls weekend, I've now made it again on my own. This time, Peter and I were entertaining friends visiting from SLO :) We played a domino game, 'Mexican Train', which requires extra game pieces to use as markers that you put on and off of your domino 'train'. However, in the absence of the game pieces, we used caramel corn as markers in the game. When someone earned a marker, they would grab a piece of caramel corn; and when they earned the right to take it off... they would pop it right into their mouth. It was a fun way to snack and play at the same time :) Between the handfuls that were eaten, and the 'markers' that were gobbled, the entire bowl of carmel corn was gone by the end of the evening!


  • 20-24 cups of plain Popped Corn (from about 1 cup unpopped kernels)
  • 2 cups Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup (2 cubes) Salted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • *(optional: 3 cups Peanuts)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Then pop your corn kernels. They need to be ready because once the carmel is ready, everything has to move FAST, so there's no time to waste popping corn.

I used the good old air popper that I grew up with. These have a max capacity of 1/2 cup kernels at a time, so I did two batches (totally 1/2 cup kernels) and this yielded a perfect amount of popped corn for this recipe (you will also need 2 big bowls for this amount of volume):

Once your corn is popped, start the caramel: 
Mix together the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt  in a large pot over medium heat.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for no more than 5 minutes:

 After your caramel has boiled for just about 5 minutes, add the baking soda and vanilla. It will PUFF up and become light and fluffy... almost like marshmallow fluff, but not quite as thick and sticky. Once it is stirred, pour it immediately onto your popcorn...

 Gently stir the carmel by folding the caramel into the popped corn until it is well coated
(Stir in peanuts at this time, if using):

Spread the bowls of carmel coated corn over two baking sheets lined with parchment or silpat. 
Don't worry, I know it is still a bit sticky and clumpy at this time, but spread it out well, and it will eventually crackle apart after it bakes. 
Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring half way. 

Once the caramel corn is done baking, spread over wax paper to cool and harden:

This only takes about 5 minutes for the caramel corn to cool until it is ready to enjoy!

It is such a yummy, crunchy, sweet treat, that it will disappear in just as much time as it took to make it... especially if it is part of game night :)

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