You know those huge 3-section tins of popcorn (the ones the neighbourhood kids would sell for fundraisers?) that lived on top of the refrigerator for months after you received them? You know, the ones with the stale buttered popcorn, and the chemical-tasting cheesy popcorn, and the styrofoam-like caramel corn? Remember how you stuffed yourself silly, then wondered why? Remember those?
This ain’t that kind of popcorn. This is the real deal, homemade, you’ll-never-buy-those-tins-again caramel corn.
It’s super easy, super delicious, and all your friends will love you when you bring out the tin of this stuff at your next movie night. In fact, go ahead and pull up a cheesy rom-com on Netflix. I’ll be over at 8:00. *wink*
– 2 TBS canola oil
– 1/2 cup popcorn kernels, divided
– 6 TBS unsalted butter, cut into pats
– 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar*
– 3 TBS light corn syrup**
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1/4 tsp Kosher salt (optional if you’re on a low sodium diet)
*Make your own brown sugar: 1 cup white sugar + 1/4 cup molasses
**Substitute with honey. Flavour will be a little “floral” (that’s the best way I know to describe it), but still delicious.
Heat oven to 300°.
Heat canola oil in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels, cover, and cook, shaking the saucepan constantly once the kernels begin to pop, until there is a 2- to 3-second interval between pops. Transfer to a large bowl. (You can also use an air popper to eliminate the extra calories from the oil.) Repeat with remaining 1/4 cup kernels.
(The original recipe called for just 1/4 cup kernels, for which the caramel sauce was more than enough. I doubled the kernels but found they didn’t pop as well when all cooked at the same time. Splitting the kernels into to batches makes for better popping.)
In a medium sauce pan, combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mixture begins to bubble and lightens in colour. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in vanilla and salt (optional). Pour mixture over popcorn and stir to coat. Spread popcorn onto sheet pan and place in oven for 30 minutes, or until popcorn is amber in colour. Remove from oven and let cool. Pop (haha!) popcorn off of pan with a spatula and serve!