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EatingWell Test Kitchen
“Homemade caramel corn isn't hard to make—whip up a batch for your Halloween party or anytime the neighborhood kids are invading your house for the night.”
8 cups popped popcorn, (from ⅓ cup raw kernels), preferably air-popped
½ cup chopped nuts, such as pecans, walnuts or macadamia nuts (optional)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1Preheat oven to 300°F. Spread popcorn and nuts, if using, on a baking sheet with sides and set aside.
2Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 250°F and is at hard-ball stage (when a bit of syrup dropped into ice water forms a hard ball), 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and immediately stir in baking soda. Pour the mixture over the reserved popcorn and nuts, stirring until most of the kernels are coated.
3Bake the popcorn for 15 minutes. Stir, coating any kernels that were not coated at the beginning. Continue baking until amber, 5 to 10 minutes longer. (Longer baking produces a deeper caramel color and flavor.) Let cool until the caramel has almost hardened, about 2 minutes. Gently break up large clumps and let cool completely.
Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week.