Oh, I could just eat, eat, and eat this popcorn. It is the best I’ve ever come across. Not that I’ve had many homemade caramel popcorns other than this one but still, it is well received by everyone who tries it. And Jennifer likes it, too! Seems I’m just making all of her recipes this week, doesn’t it? (Please be sure to read her rendition of the recipe and the story that goes with it. It’s a good one!)
Now, I had to fiddle with the original recipe, of course. I can never leave well enough alone. I have not tasted the original next to the fiddled but we loved the fiddled recipe so I’m going to stick with it. Maybe even fiddle a little more. How many times can you say fiddle before your lips gets fuddled?
The only changes I made this time were switching the corn syrup to agave and using a little more popcorn to spread out the caramel a bit thinner. Next time? I want to try using Sucanat in place of the brown sugar. Then we’d be processed sugar free. The only reason I didn’t try that this time was because this batch of popcorn was for a party and I didn’t want to risk ruining it. But there will be a next time so don’t worry, I’ll fiddle some more.
3/4 cup (6 oz) butter
2 cups (14 oz) brown sugar
1/2 cup (6 oz) agave (or corn syrup, if you are a purist)
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
7 quarts popped popcorn, unsalted and unbuttered (6 quarts, if you are a stickler for tradition)
In a heavy pot, bring the butter, sugar, agave, and baking soda to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat while keeping the sugary mass at a medium boil and continue boiling and stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Immediately pour the syrup over the popcorn and quickly stir to coat evenly. Divide the popcorn between two buttered cookie sheets with sides. Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool before transferring to airtight containers or bags to store.
Yield: about 7 quarts