Caramel Corn, originally uploaded by jen d. cox.

One of the best things about this time of year is making & sharing caramel corn. This batch turned out perfectly–not a bit of crystallization.

Baked Carmel Corn

This recipe came from Jiffy Pop years ago. It melts in your mouth and is quite addicting.

6 qts. (24 C) popped popcorn
1 C (2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 C brown sugar, packed
½ C light or dark corn syrup
1 tsp. salt (½ tsp. more if using unsalted butter)
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 250°F. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to simmer; boil without stirring to 257°F, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in soda and vanilla. Gradually pour over popped popcorn, mixing well. Turn into 2 large shallow baking or roasting pans. Bake at 250°F 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely. Break apart and store in tightly covered container. Makes about 5 qts. caramel corn.

Tips:

* You’ll need a very large bowl to make this–at least 24 C.
* Margarine is good but butter is better.
* When boiling the caramel, take care not to let any sugar crystals touch the side of the pan. Even one little crystal will cause the caramel to crystalize in the oven. I use a condiment bottle to squirt water on the sides of the pan when it begins to boil. The water boils away before the caramel reaches the proper temperature.
* If using a candy thermometer, keep the temperature in the 257-260°F range, removing from heat a little early, if necessary. Any higher than 260°F and the caramel becomes difficult to work with.
* I like to line my baking pans with non-stick foil so more of the caramel sticks to the popcorn instead of the pan.
* When removing it from the oven, spread caramel corn out on parchment paper. It’s easier to break up the kernels while it’s still hot.

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