Caramel Popcorn Recipe

My mother-in-law makes the most delicious caramel popcorn.  She brings the caramel corn to large family holiday gatherings for everyone to snack upon.  Now that we have a hot air popper, I requested the recipe and made my own batch.  (I love my popper though I was reluctant to have yet another small appliance.)

When I first made the caramel corn myself, I made a half batch (3 quarts) which is the amount of popcorn my family would usually eat in a sitting: one giant bowl of popcorn.  Since it was covered in sweet goodness, we didn't eat as much at one time (my kids are little),  but if it weren't for a bit of self-control it would have been devoured rather quickly.  

This recipe for caramel popcorn stores very well in an airtight container, so next time I will make a full batch when we have friends visit for a football game or movie.  That will be enough for the party and more for our family to snack upon during the week.

Before you begin, make sure you have a candy thermometer!  

Sister Mabel's Caramel Corn
From:  The Popping Corn Book, Orville Redenbacher's Authorized and Complete Popcorn Lover's Guide,  c1975

2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 quarts popped popcorn (two batches which equals 1 cup of kernels total) 

Place popcorn in a large roasting pan.  In 2 1/2 quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream of tartar and salt.  Bring mixture to boil, stirring, over medium-high heat.  Stirring constantly, boil rapidly to hard ball stage, 260° (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Stir in baking soda quickly but thoroughly.  Pour all of mixture over popcorn in large roasting.  Stir gently until all kernels are coated. 

Bake at 200° 1 hour, stirring 2 or 3 times during baking.  Turn out at once on wax paper; spread apart and allow to cool completely.  Break apart if needed.  Store in an air-tight container.  Makes 6 quarts.

~ Use CAUTION!  The mixture is HOT!
~ The photo above was taken when the popcorn was cooling on the wax paper.
~ I prefer mushroom popcorn.  There is almost no hull.
~ This may sound a bit complicated to make, but it is easy as long as you have your candy thermometer.
~ To be honest, I put in the baking soda too early, but it still tasted great!

If you like popcorn treats, consider making popcorn balls!  

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}
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