I would like to introduce the pretty girl behind today’s guest post, my new sister in-law who is also named Lauren. True story.
Disclaimer: this Caramel Corn is truly the BEST of its kind. Some people blame the “holiday season” for gaining a few pounds, but I proudly owe it all to this stuff. It’s the most addicting thing out there. I’ll just be hanging in the kitchen waiting for the morning coffee to brew and I find that my hand is somehow shoveling scoops of 2-day old caramel corn into my mouth. I don’t even fight it anymore. Scary good.
Nothing quite says the holidays like a big bowl full of homemade caramel corn…complete with a competitive game of Apples to Apples or 8-way solitaire (oh, Morris holidays)! Although I was new to the Morris clan, I still wanted to bring a little something over for the Thanksgiving feast at my new in-laws. But, having
the culinary genius Chrissy to impress, I thought I would play it safe and bring an old classic.
My Mimmie taught me that there is nothing better in life than butter and Jesus. You better believe that this recipe calls for enough butter to make a “Paula Deen” out of anyone. This is Mimmie’s recipe, handed down from her mother from good old Little Rock, Arkansas.
You may notice that this recipe doesn’t call for corn syrup. Although that is a suitable variation, this simple recipe brings about a much tastier caramel flavor and creates perfectly crunchy popcorn (rather than the slightly sticky version you can get when using corn syrup).
I recommend making a double batch…this stuff goes fast! I hope this Christmas season finds you happy, healthy, and free of calorie-counting! Enjoy!
Mimmie’s Best Caramel Corn
Serves a crowd
1 gallon (4 quarts) air popped popcorn (not buttered)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of peanuts (optional)
1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In air popper, pop 1 gallon of popcorn (about 1 1/4 cups of kernels, but only put about 1/4 of kernels into the air popper at a time) and set aside (I like to place it in a large stockpot).
In medium saucepan on medium-low heat, bring water, butter, brown sugar and salt to a steady boil. Allow the mixture to thicken, keeping a steady boil for about five minutes, and stirring constantly so the mixture doesn’t boil over. Once sauce has boiled for five minutes, turn off heat and mix in the baking soda and vanilla immediately.
After mixture is set and has slightly cooled down, pour over popcorn and stir. Here is where you can add the cup of peanuts, if desired. I prefer to use my hands during the mixing process to make sure every kernel is coated!
Once popcorn is coated, place a layer of popcorn on a parchment lined cookie sheet (I usually use two cookie sheets, if they are thin or if you are placing on a bottom rack in the oven, to prevent burning.
Bake for 50 minutes, turning popcorn every 15 minutes, in order to ensure all of the popcorn is being baked. If desired, while popcorn is cooking, melt chocolate (either by double broiler or microwaving chips 30 seconds at a time, stirring, and repeating until all melted).
Once popcorn has finished baking, drizzle some chocolate over the caramel corn and allow to cool, completely.
Serve either in a large bowl, or put into favor bags for a neighbor’s treat! It will save for up to 3-4 days, covered.