Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Caramel Popcorn

Caramel popcorn

Yesterday, I had my first caramel disaster. It was long coming, I know. But I tried a second time, just to make these delicious morsels. Read on to know what happened.

Caramel popcorn is only available in the theatres here, and I was craving some bad!! Looked over a few recipes, combined them, and set off to make some popcorn.

Popcorn kernels
Get a cup of unpopped corn ready. I only used half, but it was wayy too much caramel. A second batch with a whole cup worked out much better. This would roughly be equal to 1 1/2 microwaveable bags.

Ready to pop corn
Pour a little oil in the largest pan you have, that has a lid, over high heat. Throw in a few kernels, and once they pop, the oil has heated up enough, and you can throw the rest of them in. Immediately place the lid on top, and let the kernels pop, shaking every once in a while to ensure fewer unpopped kernels. This will take about 5 minutes.

Popped corn for caramel corn
You should get double this amount. Grease a large bowl, enough to toss all the corn in, and two spatulas well. Also line three baking hseets with parchment paper. Transfer all the popcorn into it, and now you can start with the caramel.

Starting out
Over high heat, combine the sugar, butter and water. This will ulitmately become a nice thick caramel for coating the popcorn. It will change in appearance slowly.

5 minutes
Here it is after 5 minutes of cooking. All the butter has melted, and the sugar is starting to melt. 

10 minutes
At a rolling boil at 10 minutes

15 minutes
The color is beginning to mature at 15 minutes.

In another 2 or 3 minutes, it is ready for the baking soda mixture to be poured in. And it here that disaster struck!!
Baking soda causes the sugar to bubble up an aerate, and more than half of my mixture ended up on the stove, that I spent around 3 hours cleaning. [Note - Pepsi is a great cleaner. Who'd have thought?] You do not want to add it if the pan is already as full as mine, it should be no more than half full.

So on my second try, I was extra vary of the caramel bubbline over, dreading that cleaning again, and I used the same pan I popped the popcorn in. Even if the caramel multiplied 10 times, I would still have enough space in the pan! Anyway, once you reach that color, you take the pan off the heat, and add the baking soda.

Caramel ready to pour on the corn
It looks like very little, that's just because this pan is ginormous!! It will look very foamy and weird.
I couldn't get a clear picture, but you can see how the baking soda mixture lightened the caramel, it has also doubled in size. You just have to stir it in quickly, briefly, and then pour it over the popcorn. Toss it all up, and lay on the prepped baking sheets.

There are now two options - Some people just let the popcorn dry out at room temperate, and some bake in the oven for a short amount of time. I tried both, and decided it was purely up to preference. Leaving it at room temperate yields a more chewy, softer while not soggy popcorn. If you want a more crunchy popcorn, you could bake it for upto 30 minutes at a low heart.

I personally loved it baked for 15 minutes. Perfect texture, perfect consistency of the corn.

Caramel Popcorn

1 cup [212 g/ 7.5 oz] popcorn kernels
4 tbsp [56 g/ 2 oz] vegetable oil
1 cup [150 g] salted peanuts, optional - I didn't use

3 cups [650 g] sugar
1/2 cup [120 g] water
2 tbsp [1/4 stick, 28 g] butter
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon, optional

Instructions - 

  1. Preheat oven to 140 C[280 F], if you intend on baking it in the end, as mentioned in the note just above the recipe.
  2. In a large, dry pan with a lid, pour the oil and let it heat up over high heat. Toss in a few kernels of popcorn, and when they pop, the oil has heated enough, and you can pour in the rest of the kernels.
  3. Cover with the lid immediately, and keep over high heat until popping has reduced to a few a minute. Give the entire pan a shake every minute or so, to ensure fewer unpopped kernels. This should take about 5 minutes. Transfer to a greased bowl big enough to toss all the popcorn in. Also grease two spatulas/wooden spoons, and lay out three baking sheets with parchment. If you are adding peanuts, add it to the popcorn now.
  4. Now for the caramel. First mix together the salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
  5. Combine the butter, sugar and water in a large pan, the mixture should be no more than a 1/4 of the pan's height. Let it boil over high heat until it reaches a deep amber color, between 10-15 minutes. The larger pan will make the caramel cook faster, and so, it will take less time than mentioned above.
  6. Take it off the heat, pour in the baking soda mixture, and give it a few stirs. The caramel will lighten in color, and foam up. Immediately pour it over the popcorn, working quickly. Toss the popcorn using the two spoons, until it is evenly coated.
  7. Lay it onto the waiting baking sheets, in a more or less single layer. Either let cool at room temperature, or pop into the oven, stirring every 10 minutes. Once cool, store in an airtight container.
The popcorn, though it made me work a lot, was well worth the effort. It's a great idea for treats to be packaged and given. The cinnamon adds a slightly different dimension, one that is very enjoyable. Try it!!


  1. Looks fabulous! I love caramel popcorn :)

  2. Looks really delicious :) yummm. I can imagine the taste :)

  3. seriously thanks for the tip. ive been wanting to make some,a nd ill be careful to have a deep pan. i also wana drizzle chocolate over mine ...teehhee...

  4. Caramel always reminds me of the beach for some reason. Yours looks amazing! I can't wait to try it!


  5. Great tips on making caramel! I'm bookmarking this because I always seem to burn mine, lol! Yours looks perfect!

  6. Amanda - Who doesn't? :P

    Nithya - Thanks! No need to imagine it, why don't you make it and taste it for real!

    Mira - Chocolate seems perfect. Now I wish I did that too!

    Erin - The beach? Now there's something that would make this feel better ;)

    Faith - Do try making it, you'll be glad!

  7. Sorry about your minor caramel disaster! I can only imagine the mess. Caramel is so sticky. Glad to hear you gave it another go. Looks good.

    I love caramel corn but will only if it's homemade or made freshly that boxed stuff is grody. :)

  8. this looks fantastic! I adore caramel popcorn and I also add nuts to mine :)

  9. I love caramel popcorn but never thought of making it myself. This doesn't look too tough and very tasty!

  10. Yum looks delicious. I love making homemade popcorn it's so much fun. I always add cinnamon to mine

  11. Gorgeous! My FIL loves caramel corn so I'm totally bookmarking this recipe!

  12. Ingrid - Well, I wasn't going to let popcorn scare me away from caramel, was I?

    Lorraine - I wish I could add nuts, but the braces make my teeth pretty sensitive.

    Xiaolu - I hadn't either, but now that I have, I'm never going back!

    Katie - It is fun!! I'm going to add even more spice next time.

    Tracy - Try it out, and let me know what you and he thought!

  13. I am always ready for some caramel popcorn! Love it!

  14. Yum, looks great! Caramel popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. I'm glad you tried a second time and had success!

  15. I'm sorry about your disaster! I'm always so intimated about making caramel. It is a tricky thing to master. Your popcorn looks great though! Absolutely addictive, I'm sure!

  16. Dis u read my mind..I was in Delhi earier and happened to have this at a theatre and have been CRAVING them since. This sounds fantastic. Am def making them. LOOOOOOOOVe it....

  17. OMG, that looks devilishly scrumptious! A sinfully good combination.



  18. Ivonne - You and me both.

    Liz - Yup me too. If I didn't immediately, I probably wouldn't ever have.

    Monet - It is, and no matter how good you are, disaster will happen on occasion.

    S - Lol we have the same reason behing making it, just hope you don't have the same disaster *fingers crossed*

    Rosa - Thank you. Combination of?

  19. so worth the extra effort! i love caramel popcorn!

  20. Yum..caramel popcorn looks grab-me-now kinda types..love it!!

  21. Yum I love caramel popcorn!! That really sucks about cleaning the stove for 3 hours. :( Good for you for trying again! I think Pepsi must work as a good cleaner because of it's low pH (high acidity)?

  22. good for you and you perseverance - i would have been on my way to the store for a bag of poppycock after getting molten sugar all over my stove! you are a stronger woman than i (but it totally paid off in the end, because caramel popcorn = yum).

  23. You're such a gem for making your own caramel popcorn! Definitely looks like a treat :)

  24. Jaime - It truly is. And it isn't really much of an effort, once you get the hang of it!

    Divya Kudua - Lol, it truly was grab-me-now types. Grabbed, and finished ;)

    eatme_delicious - Yup, I think it's the acidity too. Worked like a charm!

    Michelle - Thanks!! I just knew I would never try making it again, if I didn't do it right that instant.

    Ovenhaven - It sure was. Thank you <3

  25. Awesome tutorial. LOVE caramel popcorn. It's dangerous for me, I eat way too much of it. Love how yours is in big clumps.

  26. Great looking caramel popcorns! Absolutely stunning!

  27. It has been far too long since I last had caramel pop corn and making your own sounds like great fun!

  28. yum i just made these and they re so yummy the only problem is that I devoured them. :)


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