What better way to ring in the new year than with this delicious Old-Fashioned Caramel Corn. It’s sweet, crunchy, and totally addictive. When stored in an airtight container, the caramel corn will keep for several weeks, if it lasts that long!
I used the following ingredients for the Old-Fashioned Caramel Corn: Freshly popped popcorn, unsalted dry roasted peanuts, brown sugar, unsalted butter, corn syrup, salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract.
Making the Old Fashioned Caramel Corn
I started by popping some popcorn on the stove in a little bit of oil. A word of caution here – don’t be tempted to use microwave popcorn. It has a lot of additives in it that will impact the final taste of the caramel corn. However, you can use Unflavored Skinny Pop. A 4.4 ounce package has about 10 cups of popcorn – enough for the caramel corn with some leftover for snacking! Because Skinny Pop is lightly salted, omit the salt from the caramel.
I dumped the popped corn onto a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. The reason that I did this was to ensure that no unpopped kernels made their way into the caramel corn.
I put the popped corn and peanuts into a large mixing bowl, and turned my attention to the caramel. For this, I stirred the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Once the butter had melted and the mixture had come to a boil, I lowered the heat to medium low.
I let the caramel mixture continue to boil without stirring for five minutes. After five minutes, I removed the pan from the heat, and added the baking soda and vanilla extract.
I stirred the caramel to ensure that the baking soda and vanilla were well incorporated. Then, I poured the caramel over the peanuts and popcorn.
I quickly stirred the mixture with a wooden spoon to coat the peanuts and popcorn. Then, I dumped it onto a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
After spreading the mixture out on the baking sheet, I popped it into a preheated 250° F oven for an hour. Every 15 minutes during the hour, I removed the baking sheet, and stirred the caramel corn to ensure that the peanuts and popcorn were well coated.
After giving the caramel corn one last stir, I dumped it onto a piece of parchment paper so that it could completely cool. I broke up any large clumps, tasting a few along the way.
I ended up with about 9 cups of Old-Fashioned Caramel Corn. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. Every bite is crunchy and totally addictive. Yum!
If you don’t want to cook the popcorn on the stove, check out my Skinny Microwave Popcorn in a Paper Bag. Or if you’re looking for some more yummy popcorn treats, check out my Dark Chocolate Drizzled Caramel Corn or Halloween Kettle Corn.
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Old-Fashioned Caramel Corn
- 8 cups fresh popped popcorn about ½ cup unpopped corn*
- 1 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 250° F.
- Place popped corn into a large bowl; add peanuts to the top.
- Heat the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter is melted. Reduce heat to medium low; cook, undisturbed and uncovered, for 5 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla extract.
- Pour the caramel over the peanuts and popcorn; stir to coat.
- Spread the mixture onto an ungreased, aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Bake for one hour, removing every 15 minutes to stir.
- Spread the mixture onto parchment paper to cool. It may seem sticky at first, but will dry as it cools.
- Store in airtight container.
- Yield: 9 cups.