In Good Taste: Homemade Caramel Corn

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While growing up my little sister and I weren’t allowed to consume any sugar. Because of this, I have a lot of strong food related memories. One in particular, is a brilliantly clear memory of a sleepover at a friend’s house where her dad cooked up a batch of peanut butter popcorn. I think that their family was a reduced-sugar clan too…but they used “real” peanut butter (read: the kind with sugar in it) vs. the dry ground paste that we had at home. Thinking back on it, I’m doubtful that this popcorn was really all that amazing, but at that time, to my sweets-deprived taste buds it was pure nirvana. I might have licked the bowl, and I’m pretty sure that I ate more than my fair share (I was greedy like that). Afterward, I revered her father like some sort of god…and you can guarantee that I was keen to sleep over at that friend’s house as often as possible from that point on.

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This in part, is why I determined that when I became a parent one day, that I would be one of those moms who would wow their kids’ friends by busting out delicious snacks…such as an epic rendition of caramel corn. And this lovelies, now brings to me the sweet, salty, crunchy goodness that is attainable through the Homemade Cracker Jack Recipe by Brown Eyed Baker. OMG!

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I’ve made this caramel corn more times than I can count and it’s a winner every-single-time (minus the first time when I burnt it—a note on that below). It’s the perfect recipe to add to your kid/friend-wowing recipe arsenal. Head over to Brown Eyed Girl for the Caramel Corn Recipe.

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned during all my popcorn making:

  • Making caramel with a candy thermometer can be intimidating, but you can’t really mess up this recipe as long as you watch the temperature closely. You’ve got this!
  • I found that the oven cooking time needs to be drastically shortened. I only bake mine for 25-35 minutes (vs. the hour noted on the original recipe).
  • You cannot stir the baking popcorn too much. I recommend carefully doing so every 5-10 minutes. This will ensure a nicely distributed caramel coating on your corn.
  • The caramel coating on the popcorn will fully crisp up once it has cooled. Don’t worry if it’s a little bit sticky at the end of the baking time. If you feel that it needs more baking time you can always pop it back in the oven for a few more minutes…but once it’s burnt there is no going back. Don’t make that sad mistake.
  • If you can use Fleur de Sel in place of the sea salt in the recipe your caramel corn will taste even more mind-blowing.
  • Store the leftovers (Ha! As if there will be any!) in an airtight glass or plastic container. I found that using a plastic storage bag doesn’t work as well and gives the popcorn a yucky plastic-like taste.

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Photo props: Stamps from Besotted Brand | Wooden baskets from Michael’s Craft Store