Caramel corn is one of those forgotten treats that tastes sooo good, but we often overlook it for flashier fall treats like bright red candy apples or those addictive little bits of candy corn. I often only remember how much I love this salty-sweet crunchy confection when I see some at the fair, but that doesn’t have to be the only time you savor caramel corn, and as you probably know, homemade always tastes best. Here is an easy recipe to make your own salted caramel corn right at home:
- 15 cups plain popped pop corn
- 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, plus more for coating pan
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp flaked sea salt
- Large bowl or roasting pan
- Medium pot
- Rubber spatula
- Parchment paper
- Large baking sheet
- Heat the oven to 250°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a large roasting pan with butter and place the popcorn in the pan; set aside.
- Place the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and teaspoon of fine salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Continue to boil without stirring for 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat, add the vanilla and baking soda, and whisk until the caramel is light in color, foamy, and has doubled in volume, about 10 seconds.
- Immediately drizzle over the popcorn, stir with a rubber spatula until thoroughly coated. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and spread popcorn on it in a single layer.
- Bake, stirring every 15 minutes with a rubber spatula and scraping up any caramel from the bottom of the pan, until a cooled piece of popcorn is very crunchy, about 45 minutes to 1 hour total. (To test for doneness, take a few pieces of popcorn out of the oven and let cool for 30 seconds. If they’re crunchy, then the caramel corn is done.)
- Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with the flaked sea salt. Transfer the caramel corn to a work surface or rimmed baking sheet to cool completely.