Caramel Corn — Like the Cracker Jack Kind, Not the Popcorn Ball Kind

I have a recipe that is not clean, not healthy, lacks any nutritional value, and is absolutely terrible for your bikini body. I’m sharing it anyway because GOOD GOD this stuff has crack in it.

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Well, not real crack because can one even ingest crack? I thought that was something that could only be smoked. Or snorted? I forget which is which. If I have any crackhead followers to this blog, feel free to chime in, because I really have no clue. I only recently found out (not firsthand, obviously) that heroin can be snorted. Or maybe I have that wrong too.

I’m getting off topic. The point is, this stuff is goooooood. And it makes the most adorable little favor bags which I’m including in the welcome gifts for this weekend (cue inevitable comment about how excited I am for the bachelorette party for the umpteenth time).

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It’s dangerously easy to make, but be warned: while it is easy, it’s a little time-consuming. And also, have you ever had to wash caramel out of multiple saucepans/bowls? That shit sucks. I need me a maid. Or a husband. They’re interchangeable, right?

So I made a double batch of this (which is why I had 1038923671 bowls/pans to wash), but I am sharing the original recipe below because it actually makes plenty. So anyway, make this and stuff your face. But don’t come crying to me when your ass is too big for your jeans. I warned you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup popcorn kernels, unpopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

Pop popcorn using your preferred method. Place the popped popcorn in a very large bowl (or two large bowls. Or 6, if you made a double batch because you done lost yo mind). Make sure there is enough room in your bowls for tossing the popcorn.

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Preheat the oven to 250° F. Meanwhile, to make the caramel, melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, mix in the corn syrup, brown sugar and salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.

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Once the mixture reaches a boil, let the mixture continue to boil for 5 more minutes without stirring. Remove the mixture from the heat, stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract. The mixture will bubble up and become frothy. It might also make some loud popping noises that you’re sure means your kitchen is about to explode. Trust me, it won’t.

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Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn in the bowl(s) and toss to coat thoroughly. You may think it doesn’t look like enough caramel, but it actually is, I promise. If you do what I did (add wayyy more caramel) it will just melt to the bottom of the pan and look kinda weird and not at all like real caramel corn. So don’t do that.

Spread the popcorn evenly onto two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. (It is okay if there are some clumps of caramel throughout.  It will melt and become better spread out while baking.) Bake for 40-50 minutes, removing from the oven to toss/stir every 10 minutes. After 40 minutes, test a cooled piece of popcorn. If it is not completely crispy (i.e. still slightly mushy when you bite it), bake for 10 minutes more.

Remove the baking sheets to a wire rack and allow popcorn to cool completely before breaking apart for serving or packaging.

Yields: 16-20 servings

Recipe from: Annie’s Eats

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