Caramel Popcorn! What a fun childhood memory! Once in a while, Mom would fix a BIG bowl of gooey caramel popcorn we could share while we watched a show on TV. Most of the time it was Sunday and probably Wild Kingdom or The Wonderful World of Disney. You have to realize, that this was before DVD's or even VHS movies you could pop in anytime you felt like watching a movie. When the TV station played the movie, we gathered around to watch!
This is the kind of caramel corn that is rich and gooey, Not the crispy Cracker Jack type of caramel corn. (though if you want, I'll share that recipe with you later) I like best to eat it while it's still warm and fresh. Oh my!
First off, you need 6-8 Cups of unsalted, popped popcorn. No, you can't use microwave popcorn for this. No popcorn popper? No problem! Some of you might remember back in the day, before microwave popcorn or fancy popcorn poppers, families popped popcorn right on the stove-top.... Here are the directions to do that: Set a 4-6 quart pan with a lid on that larger stove burner. Turn the stove on medium. Add 2 T. of oil and 1/2 C. popcorn kernels. Put the lid on. (I like to leave it cracked a little to let steam escape.) Once the popcorn starts to pop, shake the pan gently (letting the unpopped kernels settle back to the bottom) until the popping slows to a few seconds between pops. Remove from heat, remove lid - but beware of the occasional surprise pop! Pour into a large bowl. IF you were going to just eat it plain, you'd add salt & butter now...... BUT since we're using it for caramel popcorn, leave it just like it is.
To prepare your popcorn for caramel, shake the bowl to get the unpopped kernels to settle and carefully lift off the top popcorn into another bowl. Toss out the kernels and small stuff left in the bottom of the bowl.
Now that you've got your popcorn made, here's the recipe for the rest....
1 cube (1/2 C.) margarine or butter
1 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. corn syrup.
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Bring the first 3 ingredients to a boil. Add the 1/2 tsp. soda after removing from the heat. Pour immediately over 6-8 C. of popped popcorn and mix well.
Joy's Notes: Put your popcorn in a BIG bowl. That makes it easier to stir the caramel sauce in. The baking soda is optional... it makes the sauce foam up, which makes it easier to stir in, but if you'd rather, you can leave it out and just stir more. If you don't use it up right after making it, it will store a few days in a covered container.
Have fun making this on your next Movie Night. This makes a nice sized batch, all the more fun to share with a group!