It’s September 24th, and that means that Fall has officially arrived! Strangely enough, where I live the super hot days of summer abruptly came to an end on exactly this day. People who know me in real life can testify of my love for all things autumn. I love the crisp fall air, I love the changing of the leaves, I love pumpkins and Halloween, and buying new sweaters. Perhaps most of all, I love fall food. There are even certain things that I make all year long, that become magically special in the fall, like caramel corn!

There are 2 schools when it comes to caramel corn: those who like it warm and soft, and those who like it crisp and crunchy. This recipe is awesome because 1. It tastes amazing, 2. It’s suuuper easy, and 3. You can make it gooey or crunchy. Pretty much anyone and everyone who eats this asks for the recipe.

Easy Caramel Corn

12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels)
1 C brown sugar

1/4 C white Karo syrup

1/2 t salt (if you are using salted microwave popcorn then omit salt here)

1 stick real butter

1/2 t baking soda

1 t vanilla

Pop popcorn and set aside. Place brown sugar, Karo syrup, salt, and butter in a microwave safe dish. I cut up the butter into chunks so it melts better.
Are you ready for the directions? I’m warning you, it’s complicated. You might want to take notes. Here we go. Microwave for 30 seconds. That should be enough to melt the butter at least half way. Stir it all to combine. No microwave on high for 2 minutes. Take it out and stir. Microwave for 2 more minutes.

Told you it was complicated.

While the caramel is cooking, put the popcorn in a big bowl. Use one that is way bigger than you think you’ll need. Just trust me. Also, try to get any un-popped kernels out so you don’t break a tooth and try to sue me.
When the caramel is done cooking, take out of microwave and add baking soda and vanilla. Sit back and watch it do cool things like bubble and foam.

At this point you’ll probably want to stick your finger in there and lick it. Don’t do it. You are mesmerized by the caramely goodness and are forgetting how hot boiling sugar is. Especially on your tongue. It’s hot. Really hot. Don’t ask me how I know.

Stir it well and then pour it over the popcorn.

Mix it up well with a big spoon. I usually spread it all out on a piece of foil and let it cool for a minute so it doesn’t get stuck in one big clump. The longer it sits out, the firmer it will get, but it won’t ever get crunchy-hard unless you bake it.

For crunchy caramel corn: spread out on a cookie sheet (you might need 2) and bake either at 200 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, or at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  If you choose the latter, keep an eye on it towards the end of cooking time to avoid over cooking.

For a variation try this reader favorite: Cinnamon Bun Popcorn




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