I think caramel popcorn is one of those small sweet indulgences that conjures thoughts of parties, game day or movie night. One mention of the word caramel, and I am instantly transported to a delightful state of mind. If there's one sweet flavor I'm a fanatic about, it's caramel, and this buttery popcorn really satisfies that craving. You may be one of those people who think of caramel popcorn as a holiday treat but, I make it year-round. Especially, when it's movie night at our house. Another fun fall movie treat to try is this recipe for Homemade Caramel Dipped Apples.
Can You Use Different Nuts?
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 24 cups lightly salted popped popcorn (6 quarts)
- 1 cup cocktail peanuts
- 1 ½ cups butter
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Spray two large, deep roasting pans with butter cooking spray. Divide the popcorn between the baking pans, and sprinkle the peanuts on top. I recommend party or cocktail peanuts, and not the dry roasted for this popcorn]. Remove any loose unpopped kernels.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt together the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.
- Stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil, then lower the heat. Continue to boil for 5 minutes. Set a timer for this step. There's no need to stir it constantly, however, you should give it a good stir periodically to keep the caramel from sticking to the bottom.
- After 5 minutes, remove from the heat and add the baking soda stirring constantly. The baking soda will cause the mixture to foam, continue to stir until the foam begins to die down. Add 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla, stir well.
- Divide the mixture between the two pans of popcorn and stir until coated.
- The popcorn won't all be perfectly coated at this stage.
- Place the pans into the oven and bake for 1 hour stirring at 15 minute intervals.
- Spread the popcorn onto wax paper to cool. Store tightly covered at room temperature.