school, my youngest brother was often found in the kitchen making his own
caramel corn. Popcorn has come a long way from its debut in America at the first
Thanksgiving in 1621. According to English documents, a Native American named
Quadequina brought popped corn to the dinner. The secret to perfect caramel corn
is watching the syrup carefully so that it doesn't boil before the sugar has
melted. This will cause the caramel to be grainy and sugary instead of crisp and
crunchy. Keep the heat on low and it will be perfect.
1 (3-ounce) bag 94% fat-free microwave popcorn,
1 cup coarsely chopped mixed canned nuts
¾ cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300°.
2. Pour popcorn into a large bowl or oversized metal
roaster. Pick out all the whole kernels. These could
break your teeth if left in the mix. Stir in nuts.
3. Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Add the
sugar, corn syrup and water. Don’t raise the heat at all until
sugar crystals dissolve. Stir until syrup comes to a boil and
reaches 140° on a candy thermometer. It will look creamy
and bubbly. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in the baking soda and vanilla just until blended. The
mixture will be foamy. Pour syrup over popcorn and nuts,
then toss with two wooden spoons until well coated. Pour
onto an 18 x 13 x 1-inch jelly roll pan.
5. Bake in a preheated 300° oven for 4 minutes. Stir, then bake
for another 4 minutes. The popcorn will be golden and not
dark like regular caramel popcorn. Remove and turn out onto
waxed paper. Spread around so it hardens in smaller pieces.