Honey Caramel Popcorn

Honey Caramel Popcorn

1 to 2 C. Spanish peanuts

3/4 C. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 C. packed brown sugar

1/4 C. honey

2 T. molasses

1/4 C. dark corn syrup

3/8 t. baking soda

1/2 t. vanilla, optional

1/8 t. salt

16 C. popped popcorn

Spread peanuts on baking sheet and roast them in 375-degree oven 12 to 20 minutes until they’re slightly colored, turning every so often. Let cool.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat, then add brown sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, baking soda, vanilla and salt. Stir, allowing mixture to come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and boil gently without stirring, about 3 minutes (or until mixture registers 285 degrees on a candy thermometer to soft-crack stage).

Reduce oven to 250 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place popcorn in large, heat-safe bowl. Slowly pour syrup over popcorn. Stir and toss, adding peanuts at the same time, and toss to coat as best you can. Turn popcorn out onto prepared baking sheet. It will not look thoroughly coated with caramel at this point, but that will take care of itself as it bakes and dries.

Bake the popcorn, tossing and shuffling it every few minutes, about 20 minutes. Cool and break popcorn into serving-size pieces. (This keeps for about 3 days. You may freeze cooled popcorn on large baking sheets, which will keep it crisp and reduce clumping. Once frozen, place portions in paper bags and store in freezer. Popcorn will come out of freezer crisp, but it begins to get soggy if not eaten right away.)

Makes 17 cups.

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