What were some of your favorite holiday traditions when you were growing up? One of mine would have to be holiday baking with my mom. We would spend the whole day in the kitchen, rocking out to our favorite Christmas music CD's. She always did most of the work, but I was the designated cookie decorator and taste tester ;). Each year we would make a dozen different items - such as various breads, Mexican wedding cookies, sugar cookies, ginger molasses cookies, and caramel corn. Carefully we would divide up the goodies onto festive paper plates, wrap them up, and deliver them to our friends and family Being far away from our families this Christmas, I wanted to send a little bit of that holiday baking magic along with their presents. Having to be conscious of space in the packaging boxes, and durability during the transportation, I decided to send some caramel corn!
Light and buttery, this caramel corn will simply melt in your mouth. This recipe is actually the same one that I grew up with - and it is perfection. We've always added peanuts to the caramel corn for the additional flavor and texture. It is easy to make and non-fussy - i.e it doesn't require a candy thermometer like a lot of other caramel corn recipes. One of the things that I absolutely LOVE about making caramel corn, is being in charge of how chunky the final product is. You know what I'm taking about - those large chunks made up of multiple individual popcorn pieces, all glued together by thick caramel. Fricken, YUM! I truly am a sucker for caramel corn - and to be honest, I had to make this recipe twice because I ate most of it the first time around lol.
To be cute, I packed the caramel corn in clear plastic baggies, and sealed it with a simple ribbon. This recipe made 3 baggies worth - one for my family, one for Alex's family, and one all to ourselves. Mu-hahaha. So if you want to make some treats for a holiday get together, or as a gift, look no further than this caramel corn!
Prep time:Bake time: Serves: 12 cups
- 12 cups popped popcorn (from 1/2 cup kernels or 2 pre-packaged bags)
- 1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
- 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 250F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, set aside.
- Place the popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl, then set aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Mix in the brown sugar, light corn syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Then raise the heat to high and bring to a boil without stirring. Cook for an additional 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the baking soda.
- Pour the caramel over the popcorn/peanut mixture, and stir to coat. Spread mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring twice. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle immediately with 1 teaspoon coarse salt.
- Let cool, then break into clusters. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.