Caramel corn is a special treat my family really loves! Any given evening, when we have time to watch a little bit of TV or a movie as a family, we pop popcorn (and top with butter), or make caramel corn.
I love caramel corn, and I love it even more with “stuff” in it! Cereal (my favorite is corn chex), pretzels, nuts or M&M’s make delicious additions to an already delightful treat!
Some fun packaging makes a bag of caramel corn a great little gift or favor. I made this batch for the teachers at my girls’ school. I’m planning to make it again (and package it the same) for a school field trip to the pumpkin farm later this week.
The orange snack cups (shown) were in the $1.00 section at Target, and I drew faces on them with permanent marker.
The one downside of this homemade caramel corn is that does take a bit of planning. It takes about 45 minutes, or so, from start to finish, before you get to eat it. But the finished sweet and crunchy caramel corn will last 3-4 days (in a sealed container), so you can make it ahead of time.
How to Make Homemade Caramel Corn
Homemade Caramel Corn
- 1 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 12 cups popped corn
- 3-5 cups cereal pretzels, or nuts of your choice
- Pop popcorn, and place in a large roasting pan. Mix in any desired additions (cereal, pretzels, nuts, etc).
- In a medium saucepan, add butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup.
- Cook over medium-high heat (not high), stiring occasionally until the mixture begins to boil.
- Boil 5 minutes, or until the mixture is a deep amber color, stiring occasionally. Set a timer, and do not leave the kitchen. The mixture can burn quickly. Keep the stove temperature just high enough to keep the mixture boiling, and no more (this may be medium, or medium-high). If you prefer to use a thermometer, the mixture should be about 234*F, or soft ball stage.
- After boiling 5 minutes, remove pan from heat. Add vanilla and stir (the mixture will hiss). Add baking soda, and stir well (the mixture will foam and expand).
- Pour caramel over popped corn (or any other ingredients you choose), and stir to coat.
- Bake caramel corn in a pre-heated 250*F oven for about 25-30 minutes. Every 10 minutes, remove from oven, stir well and return to oven.
- Spread the baked caramel corn onto a couple of cool baking sheets, or a waxed paper lined counter, to cool. Cool about 5 minutes. Eat immediately, or store in a sealed container 3-4 days.