Amaze your friends and family — break out caramel corn for movie night (…or the Oscar’s tomorrow!) It’s a snap to make and by doing it yourself, you can keep the ingredients high quality; no corn syrup or scary preservatives here. It is also a fun way to try the specialty brown sugars from India Tree. I used the Light Muscovado and loved the beautiful color and flavor.
makes 16 cups
16 cups popped corn, any unpopped kernels discarded, in a very large bowl (or split between two large bowls)
2 cups (1 lb.) brown sugar
1 cup unsalted organic butter
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1. In a large, heavy saucepan combine the brown sugar, butter, water and salt and bring to a boil. Continue boiling moderately for about 5 minutes until mixture starts to thicken. (Technically this is the “soft ball stage”, 234 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can drop a 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel into a glass of cold water to check if it comes together into a blob when you touch it with your finger.)
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. The caramel will bubble and puff up as you do this — keep stirring. Working quickly, but carefully (since the caramel is very hot), pour the caramel over the popped corn kernels and stir gently to coat.
3. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line two cookie sheet pans with parchment paper. Divide the caramel corn between the two pans and bake for 45 minutes. Stir several times during baking. Cool briefly, then enjoy! Store airtight.