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Caramel Corn Recipe & Video

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This Caramel Corn really needs a warning label as eating one handful is just about impossible. It's made by taking freshly popped corn and coating it with caramel. It's wonderfully sweet with a delightful crunch. There is an ongoing debate about whether you pronounce this delicious candy "car-muhl" or "cara-mel", but I'll leave that up to you to decide. But what I will say is that you may want to make several batches as your friends and family would appreciate a bag or two.

There are a few things to keep in mind when making Caramel Corn. For one thing, like all candy, it should never be made on a humid day, unless you have adequate air conditioning. Use a heavy bottomed saucepan so the caramel will not scorch under high temperatures. Be sure to use a wooden spoon to stir the syrup as the sugar crystals will not stick to wood as easily as they will to metal. And buy a good digital or mercury candy thermometer with a metal clip so you can fasten it to the side of the pan. When using a mercury candy thermometer make sure the bulb of the thermometer does not rest on the bottom of the pan as this can cause an inaccurate temperature reading. It is also important to read the temperature at eye level and you may have to wipe the steam off the thermometer first in order to read the numbers. Another thing about mercury candy thermometers are that they are fragile so after each use place in hot water (not cold) to dissolve the sugar coating. Never place a hot thermometer into cold water as this can cause it to break. And be sure to store your thermometer away from other kitchen utensils so it won't get banged around. Lastly, cleaning the saucepan can be a problem. The best way to remove all that hard caramelized sugar is to fill the saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and let it sit until the sugar dissolves.

Before you begin making caramel corn, make sure you are familiar with the recipe and have all your ingredients measured and within easy reach. That means having the baking soda and salt at your side so when the caramel reaches the hard crack stage (if placed in water you will have stiff, firm threads) (300 degrees F) (149 degrees C) you can immediately stir these two ingredients (salt adds flavor, baking soda aids browning and gives the caramel a lighter texture) into the caramel. Be very careful as the caramel will foam up when you stir in the baking soda. It is a good idea to have a bowl of ice water nearby in case you accidentally burn yourself. Then pour the hot caramel over the popped corn and toss, with two wooden spoons or forks, making sure all the popped corn is coated with the caramel. The caramel corn will be in large clumps so spread the caramel corn onto a large sheet of aluminum foil. Then, while the caramel corn is still hot, separate it into bite-sized pieces, with two forks or by wearing heatproof gloves. Cool completely and then the caramel corn can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for at least a week.


Caramel Corn: Have ready a large baking sheet that has been lightly buttered or sprayed with a non stick cooking spray.

Place the popped corn in a large bowl that has been lightly buttered or sprayed with a non stick cooking spray.

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together the sugars, corn syrup, water, and butter. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture boils, cover, and boil for about one to two minutes. (This allows steam to form which then condenses and washes off any sugar crystals that have attached themselves to the sides of the saucepan.) Uncover the saucepan and clamp a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Boil the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the temperature reaches the hard crack stage, 300 degrees F (149 degrees C). (Brush down the sides of the pan, with a heatproof pastry brush that has been dipped in warm water, to remove any sugar crystals that may have formed on the sides of the saucepan.)

Then remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda. (The caramel will foam up when you add the baking soda so be very careful.) Pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss well to evenly coat all the popcorn (use two heatproof spatulas or wooden spoons that have been lightly buttered or sprayed with a non stick spray). While the popcorn is still warm, sprinkle with the salt. Spread the caramel popcorn onto your baking sheet and separate into bite-sized pieces. Cool completely and then store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to a week.

Makes about 8 servings. Preparation time 1 hour.

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Caramel Corn:

1/2 cup (110 grams) popcorn kernels or about 10 cups (2.4 liters) of popped corn

1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 cup (105 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup (120 ml) light corn syrup

1/2 cup (120 ml) water

4 tablespoons (55 grams) butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)


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