There’s just something about salted caramel that makes me weak at the knees. I mean, how could one not like a sweet, rich caramel with a hint of salt? The salt brings out the flavor like a thousand times more. Every time I eat salted caramel, my tastebuds do a little dance that looks like this.
So in thinking of all of the things I could make salted caramel’d, popcorn stood out the most. It’s absolutely perfect. Unlike popcorn right out of the microwave (or air popper), this salted caramel popcorn becomes almost creamy once it’s baked. The caramel becomes crispy without sticking to your teeth like traditional hard candy. It’s like the oven gods do a little magic trick and voilà! Perfect salted caramel popcorn.
How to make salted caramel popcorn
This salted caramel popcorn recipe requires a little elbow grease, but it’s well worth the effort. The basic steps for making homemade caramel corn (with a twist!) are:
Pop the popcorn — You can make either plain stovetop popcorn for this recipe, or you can use the microwavable stuff. Just remember to use a neutral flavored popcorn if you get the store-bought microwavable kind! You don’t want any flavors to be competing with the salted caramel goodness you’re about to make.
Make the salted caramel coating — Combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it boil for a few minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in some baking soda. The mixture should begin to bubble, which is a good sign!
Combine and bake — Stir together the hot caramel and the popcorn (I stir it together in stages to make the process easier). Then spread the salted caramel popcorn onto a baking sheet and bake at a low heat for just under an hour. Make sure to stir the popcorn every 15 minutes to prevent it from clumping up or cooking unevenly.
Let cool and enjoy — Do not eat this caramel popcorn right away! If you do that, you’ll burn the roof of your mouth. Let the caramel corn cool completely on the baking tray, and THEN dig in.
On an unrelated note, I want to take a moment to say how much I love my mom. She has been constantly supportive of me throughout my life. From praising my artwork as a kindergartener to tuning into my blog for all these years, my gratitude for her support is never ending. Two most recent comments made my week:
Text from Mom on 1/19/15 at 8:25pm: Do you bake your cookies at 350 or 375? Also, did you see in Real Simple that Anna Kendrick reads baking blogs for fun? I bet she’s seen Broma!
Email from Mom on 1/19/15 at 9:01pm: I’m sure someone at Nabisco has seen your Oreo Donuts post by now and has spread the word!
So thank you, Mum, for believing that my blog is a world class blog read by Anna Kendrick and touted by Nabisco. I hope it is one day.
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn (or 2 bags microwave popcorn)
Preheat oven to 250°F. Line two large baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper. Pop popcorn according to directions. Pour half of popcorn into a large mixing bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Allow mixture to boil for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda. The caramel will begin to bubble- this means you’re doing it right!
Pour half of caramel on top of the bowl of popcorn. Pour the rest of the popcorn into the bowl, then top with remaining caramel. Stir using a wooden spoon or silicon spatula until the caramel coats the popcorn evenly. Place on prepared baking sheets, spreading the popcorn out to the edges. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon sea salt.
Bake for 50 minutes, taking the popcorn out to stir it well every 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan before serving!