Maybe this is a weird recipe for November? Y’all were probably thinking more along the lines of pumpkin, pecan or apple pie to be a better choice for this month. But hear us out:
It’s already November, yes, NOVEMBER! It’s that time of year when people are getting together, and gift giving ideas are starting to swirl around in our brains. And for those of you who didn’t make it to a fair or a fall festival, this is your chance to make some really yummy popcorn! Now, if you’re looking for a healthy dessert, you’ve come to the wrong place. This recipe calls for a whole stick of butter and an equal amount of corn syrup. But the end of the year is made for indulging. Calories don’t count after October. Maybe we’ll come up with a healthy recipe for January…maybe.
At the annual fair, Caroline spends hours finding the kettle corn tent (that’s in the same place every year) and grabs herself the biggest bag of warm, fresh, salty, and sweet kettle corn. With kettle corn, the kernels themselves are popped with sugar and oil and stirred constantly in a large cast iron kettle. Caramel corn uses already popped corn and you add the sugar mixture after, making the process much easier and equally as delicious.
Now we must warn you: do not make this recipe unless you have rock solid willpower or an extremely fast metabolism. This stuff is addictive. If you think you can resist the desire to eat it all or just don’t care, here are some tips:
If you don’t have a roasting pan and don’t want to buy one, you can get an (inexpensive) aluminum one at the store, which you can then recycle or wash and reuse. Also, I recommend you spray your baking spatula with cooking oil before stirring the popcorn so it doesn’t stick. When stirring, we just take the pan completely out of the oven and set it on the oven door or stove top so there’s no risk of reaching in and bumping into anything that could burn us.
4 quarts (16 cups) popped popcorn
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Prepare a large shallow roasting pan by spraying it with cooking oil and putting it in a preheated 250° oven.
2. Make popcorn. ½ cup kernels is supposed to yield 4 quarts of popcorn, however it’s not guaranteed, so adjust accordingly (pop more popcorn).
3. Mix brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil.
4. Once boiling, stop stirring and leave it to boil for 5 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and add ½ teaspoon baking soda and vanilla and mix well. It should bubble from the soda and turn much paler in color.
6. Pour contents over warmed popcorn and stir to coat evenly. Don’t worry too much, as it will get coated more and more evenly as you continue to stir later on.
7. Bake for 45 minutes remembering to stir every 10-15 minutes (the caramel will sink to the bottom of the dish).
8. Remove from oven and cool in the pan or spread out on parchment paper on any surface. (If you cool it in the pan, you’ll just have to break apart big chunks). Store in an airtight container, that is if you don’t eat it all before it even cools.
Olivia and Caroline are enthusiastic foodies and bakers who are constantly in the kitchen, as well as explorers who create their own adventures in our area – and did we mention they are mother and daughter? Follow Olivia on Instagram to see her many creations at @oliviawvalentine.