Best Caramel Corn Recipe Ever

Best Caramel Corn EverYOU GUYS!  This is the BEST CARAMEL CORN RECIPE EVER!  I don’t mean to yell.  I just want to be clear.  You haven’t lived until you’ve had this caramel corn.  It is simple to make and is a show stopper.  I have given this as teacher’s gifts, eaten it in place of birthday cake and have been accused of hoarding it for myself.  If that is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

this recipe is the easiest and best caramel corn ever.The ingredients are pretty standard.  And I know there is a lot of negativity surrounding corn syrup and the like.  If there is one place in the world they should be, it is dessert.  Embrace it people!  Then eat some carrots to balance it out.

add brown sugar and butter to a sauce pan for easy caramelThe only thing hard about this recipe is remembering to watch the caramel so it doesn’t burn.  I often try to do something else at the same time thinking I can multi-task.  And sometimes I can.  But it never works out when I am making caramel.  I’m fine with burnt toast.  I’m okay with burnt pizza.  But there is no place in this world for burnt caramel.  Super grody.

Add corn syrup to brown sugar and butterThe corn syrup helps to make a nice candy coating on the outside of the popcorn.  And a candy coating is never bad.

Adding baking soda makes the caramel foam up. If your kids are old enough to be around hot molten caramel, have them help you with this.  There is a fun chemical reaction when you add the baking soda to the caramel.  It foams up and grows. So cool.  I have no idea what the purpose really is but if it helps it come out yummy, I’m all for it.

mix the caramel with the popcornYou can use a roasting pan but I find it is easier to use a large disposable pan.  The key to this caramel corn is the baking.  It helps coat all of the popcorn and keeps the popcorn from becoming soggy.  This is not a sticky caramel corn.  It is crisp and buttery and perfect.  I like using a larger pan to make sure that I don’t lose half of the batch in to the fiery depths of the oven when I stir it every 15 minutes. FYI, burnt caramel smells almost as bad as it tastes.  And then clean up is a breeze because you don’t have to try to get hardened caramel off the pan.

I don't mess around about caramel corn.  This is the best ever. There you have it. Best Caramel Corn Ever.  SO easy.  I know that some of you may have your own caramel corn recipe that you swear by.  But yours is wrong.  Mine is better.  Sometimes I sprinkle a little Maldon Sea Salt on top as it is cooling down from its last spin in the oven.  Oh yeah.

Best Caramel Corn Recipe Ever

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup butter (I've used both salted and unsalted - I don't taste a huge difference)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6 quarts popped popcorn (I use an air popper, but you can use plain microwave popcorn also)

Instructions

  1. Pop all your popcorn (6 quarts) and place in disposable baking pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  3. To a saucepan, add the brown sugar, butter, salt and corn syrup.
  4. Melt together over medium heat, stirring almost constantly to keep it from burning.
  5. Heat to boiling and let boil for 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
  6. Remove from heat and add baking soda.
  7. Stir well.
  8. Pour over popped popcorn and stir well, taking care not to break the popcorn.
  9. Bake at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  10. Stir the caramel corn as it cools to prevent it from sticking together in big clumps.
  11. Store in an air tight container.
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Candy Popcorn Recipe for Valentine’s Day

Candy Popcorn Recipe TutorialFor someone who doesn’t post a lot of holiday stuff I got totally wrapped up in Valentine’s Day this year.  And most of it was last minute but I really wanted to share it.  One thing that was planned out was this candy popcorn recipe that I collaborated on with Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop.  Many people know her from her cupcakes and PushCakes.  But she is SO much more.  Twice she has made this delicious candy popcorn for parties for me and it is always a hit.  And it can’t be more perfect for Valentine’s Day.

ingredients for candy popcornThis candy popcorn recipe is totally easy.  I’m afraid to use a candy thermometer so that is why I wanted Kristin involved.  I thought this would be too hard for me to make considering I am not a great baker.  Or cook.  Or dishwasher…But color me surprised when I found out all you need is popped popcorn, sugar, light corn syrup and flavored Jello!  I will be making this.  A lot.  And then buying bigger pants.

add flavored Jello for candy flavorYou make an easy syrup mixture on the store and add the Jello for flavoring.

Add candy mixture to popped popcornSimply pour the syrup over popped popcorn and stir to coat.  Whenever I made caramel corn I buy a disposable roasting pan from the store.  It makes stirring easy especially when you’ve got hot sugar your dealing with which is just waiting to coat your finger and leave you an unpleasant burn.  Not that it has happened…This also makes clean up a cinch since you just throw the pan away when done instead of having to clean of that hard candy coating.  But this is also wasteful.  So I should really just buy a legit roasting pan.  But then I would have no where to store it.  And that, my friends, is my inner dialogue.

candy popcorn and my husbandAnd this is my husband.  I think he was feeling left out because our kids are always in posts.  He wouldn’t leave until I took a picture.  But he’s pretty cute so I decided to leave him in.  But if your husband isn’t as cute, just skip this part.

close up of candy popcorn on sheet panThen you spread out the coated popcorn on a baking sheet to finish off in the oven.  This steps makes it crispy instead of gooey.  Gooey is fine too, but a good crunch never hurt anything.  You can sort of make out some little gold hearts here.  Remember when I added stars to champagne?  Well I also had the edible hearts.  And they just make sense to use on a Valentine’s Day snack.  We added them to the popcorn before baking so they would stick to it.

candy popcorn with hearts for Valentine's DayAnd there you have it.  Super easy candy popcorn for Valentine’s Day.  Or any day.  Kid’s love this, in case you had any doubts.  And those hearts make it super romantic.

Perfect snack for Valentine's DayJust add some heart candies and homemade vanilla bean marshmallows (see I told you Kristin is awesome) and you’ve got the perfectly adorable Valentine’s spread.

Recipe from Jello Rainbow Popcorn Recipe

Ingredients:

8 cups popped popcorn (I have a microwavable bowl that I use with kernals but you can also use plain microwavable bags if you have to)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine – can also use butter but my food allergic son can eat it if I use his margarine = happy kid

3 TBSP light corn syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1 package (4 serving size) any flavor Jello – not the sugar free kind.  Gross.  We used cherry.  Amazeballs.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray foil with a small bit of cooking spray so it won’t stick.  Set aside.

Place margarine and corn syrup in small saucepan on medium heat and stir until butter is melted.  Add sugar and Jello.  Stir to combine and until Jello is completely dissolved.

Bring to a boil on medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix popped popcorn and syrup until well coated.  Spread on to prepared sheet pan and spread out evenly.  Bake 10 minutes.  Cool.  Remove from pan and break in to small pieces.  Or grab huge chunks and shove them in your face.

peach candy popcornKristin made this peach version of candy popcorn for Lauren’s bridal shower.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Thanks for doing this post with my Kristin!  Get excited.  Kristin is starting a blog where she is going to share a bunch more of her tutorials.  And not just on sweet treats.  She is a talented lady and has lots to share!

Image of peach popcorn by Dez and Tam