What’s your go-to holiday treat? Mine is this mouth-watering, chewy yet crunchy, totally addictive caramel popcorn, handed down to me from my mother. Since I was a child, my mother would make multiple batches of it the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years, to give to neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc. It became such a part of my holiday tradition that I had to carry it on.
My best friend growing up in Seattle, was a huge fan. So much so, that when we first found ourselves living in California, we got together every holiday to make it. She would then mail it back home to her parents and to her brother, who were also caramel popcorn devotees. To this day, people still ask if and when we will be making our cararmel popcorn. Luckily for them, I do every year because I love it so much and it’s easy, inexpensive and so delicious! One “batch” provides 5 or 6 bags for giving and even more if you package in smaller amounts.
How to make caramel popcorn
How to package caramel corn
how to store caramel popcorn
Store caramel popcorn in an airtight container. It you choose to package it in bags, make sure to use cellophane and not plastic, as plastic can make it wet and soft. You want it chewy and crunchy, not soft.
- For Caramel:
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup dark Karo Syrup
- 1 stick butter
- 1 can sweet and condensed milk
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels (approximately 15 cups popped popcorn) or 4 bags of popped microwave popcorn
- Combine brown sugar and syrup in large sauce pan.
- Bring brown sugar and syrup to a boil.
- Add stick of butter to melt (and stir well).
- Add milk and stir to combine everything.
- Cook over low heat until caramel reaches soft ball stage (on candy thermometer) 40-50 minutes. Stir periodically to prevent caramel from sticking to pan.
Make sure to use two separate bowls for the popcorn. One, to hold popped popcorn and one for separated popcorn and unpopped kernels.
important note on popcorn
*Separate popped popcorn bowl and bowl you’ll be using to combine with the caramel. Hand scoop popped popcorn into other bowl to separate from any leftover unpopped kernels. You don’t want unpopped kernels in your finished caramel corn to crack your teeth!
Finally, grab a handful of this heavenly caramel corn to savor before you package it up and give it away. (I may have been known to open up a bag or two after packaging…of course, that makes me short on what I need so… I just have to make more!).