Friday, March 9, 2012

Cooking Up Caramel Popcorn

My granddad is celebrating his 94th birthday tomorrow. Isn't that amazing? When I was a kid, I would go to my grandparents' house after school and during the summers. Every so often, Grandad would make popcorn, his favorite, and we'd all reap the benefits. He'd make it the old-fashioned way, shuffling and banging a pot full of kernels around on the stovetop. Then, he'd divide it up, perfectly salted, into bowls, and we'd enjoy it along with a Coke. It's one of my favorite childhood memories. So this year, I thought I'd make him some popcorn.

This is the same caramel popcorn I made for the Oscars this year, and I was amazed at how addictive it was. I almost ate it for breakfast one morning. It's a great gift to ship to someone once you find the perfect little popcorn bucket. Just be careful while you're packing it up, rogue fingers might try to steal handfuls and ruin photos. But Grandad wouldn't mind.

Caramel Popcorn
Adapted from

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 cups popped popcorn (about 3/4 cup unpopped kernels)

Pop popcorn and spread out in two shallow baking dishes. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour all the caramel in a thin stream over the popcorn, stirring gently to coat. If the popcorn doesn't get completely coated with caramel, don't worry, you have more opportunities. Bake in preheated oven, removing from oven every 15 minutes to stir gently, for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and spread out popcorn over parchment paper. Let cool completely. Break up any clusters of popcorn if necessary. Store in an airtight container. I think it should last about a week, but it's never stuck around that long at my house.


  1. Aw, happy birthday to granddad! I love the popcorn tradition you had with him:) It reminds me of my own kids with my dad. He love his popcorn and they definitely partake in the popcorn festivities when we're over at their house. So great. Have a great weekend!

  2. What a wonderful memory! I know your grandfather will enjoy your caramel corn. I love the stuff. My husband makes it for our movie nights. It's such a treat.
    Happy birthday to your 94-year-old granddad. That's amazing! Maybe you can share some photos of him?

  3. Oh my goodness happy happy birthday to your granddad! What a great memory and a sweet, heartfelt gift for him. My mom absolutely loves caramel corn; I'll have to make this for her this weekend. Oh this made my day!

  4. Thanks for the sweet wishes to my granddad! I should share photos of him some time, Claudia!

  5. I love caramel corn, but I've never made! I'm totally trying this! YUM!

  6. Yummy! We're going to be having a family movie night tonight, i'll have to try this!

  7. I think I have everything to make that right now. Looks so good! I would definitely eat it for breakfast too. ;)

  8. I have so much popcorn at home I MUST try this!



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