When I was growing up, my mom always made an effort to establish strong traditions in our family – especially those centered around holidays. We always had fresh, warm caramel corn on the night that we trimmed the Christmas tree – but as I’ve established my own family with my husband, it’s evolved to a different place in our own family traditions.
Each year we set aside a night in October to host our pumpkin carving party and my mom’s recipe for fresh, warm caramel corn has settled in as an annual favorite and must-have. I don my olive green satin witch’s hat and we all conspire around our own pumpkins to secretly create something that will impress other family members. All the while munching on sweets and treats and snapping photos. We end the night with butter beers for the guys and a sip of a festive drink or two for my husband and I as we light our pumpkins and tell scary stories.
This is my only slightly modified version of my mom’s easy homemade caramel corn
Easy Homemade Caramel Corn
3-5 qts. of popped popcorn
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Pop 3-5 qts of popcorn using your favorite method. I’ve used air popped, oil popped, or microwaveable. I recommend using an unsalted, unbuttered version if you choose to make it in the microwave. I’m not sure that the caramel would stick well to buttered popcorn. Pour the popped popcorn into a clean brown paper grocery sized bag and set it aside to make the caramel.
Place the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt into a medium sized microwaveable dish with plenty of room. Microwave to melt the ingredients together – about a minute or so, and then stir. (Times will vary based on how cold your butter is, and how your microwave heats. Once the ingredients are melted, bring the mixture to a boil, and maintain the boil for 2 minutes. The caramel will rise up in the dish.
Remove your caramel from the microwave and add the 1/2 tsp. of baking soda. Stir to combine.
Pour the caramel over the popcorn in the paper bag. Fold the bag closed and shake to coat the popcorn. Place the bag in microwave and microwave for 4 minutes on high, making sure to remove the bag and shake it EACH MINUTE. This distributes the caramel over the corn and keeps it from burning. Pour the finished caramel corn on to sheet trays to cool.
Optional: melt chocolate candy coating and drizzle over the top.