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!
- 1 cup of popcorn kernels, air popped or stove popped
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) dairy-free margarine
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 250.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Allow popcorn to cool before storing in a ziplock bag.
- Don’t forget to add the Surprise (or two)!!