I love caramel corn, especially homemade caramel corn. As a kid, I loved the suprise in the Cracker Jack box even more than finding one of the rare peanuts. The surprise itself was usually forgetable…a sticker or a temporary tatoo…but the process of finding it was so much fun. I look forward to the day my kids can bury their fists into a steaming bag of Garrett’s Popcorn, butter and sugar dripping down their arms and chins…but until then, we’ll make some pretty good stuff at home, complete with the surprise!
Caramel Corn with a Good Surprise
1 cup of popcorn kernals, air popped or stove popped
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks dairy-free margarine ( I used Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine )
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinamon (optional)
1.) Preheat oven to 250.
2.) Pop the popcorn and divide among two sheet pans. Or, if you’re smart and want to say fewer bad words in the kitchen, dump it all in a disposable roasting pan.
3.) In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, corn syrup, salt and margarine to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and boil for 5 minutes without stirring much. Remove from heat and add vanilla, baking soda and optional cinnamon. The mixture should bubble and become frothy.
4.) Dump over the popcorn and mix around as best you can. Don’t worry about coating the popcorn perfectly, it will get mixed around during the baking.
5.) Put into the oven and bake for 1 hour. Every 15 minutes, take the popcorn out and stir it around for even coating and baking.
6.) Allow popcorn to cool before storing in a ziplock bag.
7.) Don’t forget to add the Surprise (or two)!!