I use to work in a bakery where we made a lot of caramel corn, a lot of caramel corn. I wasn’t involved in the corn popping or the caramel cooking. No, I had the glamorous job of pulling the popcorn apart into individual pieces, by hand, just after it was coated in 250° caramel. It was an intense task, but I have to say that the temporary loss of feeling in my fingertips was worth it. This crisp, sweet, and slightly salty caramel corn was insanely addictive. We had to cover it with cling wrap to keep the staff from eating it all!
Even though the end result was crazy delicious, I never really wanted to make caramel corn at home. 50+ batches had me all caramel-corned-out. Flash forward several months and my boyfriend, Sam, starts to request caramel corn. He’s not a big fan of sweets (ironic, I know), so it’s a big deal when he makes a request. I agreed, but only after I found a super easy recipe.
I got this recipe from my “Recipe of the Month” club. No, this isn’t a monthly email blast. At least once a month, my mom sends an envelope packed with recipes she finds in magazines that she thinks I will like. I call it snail mail Pinterest, and it’s one of the only reasons I even check my mailbox. This incredibly simple baked caramel corn recipe is from an unlikely source, People magazine. I’ll be honest. I didn’t know they ran recipes, but I am happy they do! This recipe is fun, easy, and Sam loved it.
Thanks to People, I’ll be making caramel corn more often. Next time, I’ll add slivered almonds to the recipe for some extra texture, and if I’ve had a particularly good day, I’ll drizzle some milk chocolate over the top, and if it’s the best day ever, I won’t have to share!
- ¼ cup popping corn
- 2 Tbs. canola oil
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and lightly coat with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- In a large pot, combine oil and popping corn over medium heat. Cover with lid slightly askew, so the steam can vent. Occasionally move around kernels by tilting the pot from side to side. Remove from heat once popping slows. Spread popped corn out onto prepared pan.
- In a medium size pot, combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream of tartar, and salt over medium heat. Stir until butter melts and the mixture starts to boil. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes on low. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Keep stirring until the caramel becomes one homogenous color.
- Pour caramel over popcorn. Gently stir with a rubber spatula coated with non-stick spray until the popcorn has an even coat of caramel.
- Bake for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool, before stirring to break apart popcorn into individual kernels. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.