Flavored popcorns are all the rage these days, but I was making this one when the primary source of caramel popcorn was Cracker Jack.  It is really delicious, and the caramel is great over ice cream, too.

From the Atlanta Junior League cookbook, Atlanta Cooknotes (1982):

Caramel Popcorn

  • 2 cups popcorn kernels (I use 3-4 microwave bags)
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white corn syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pop kernels (I just use the bags in the microwave) and set aside in a large ovenproof pan.  In a saucepan, combine margarine, brown sugar, and syrup.  Boil five minutes and remove from heat.  Stir in salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract.  Pour mixture over popcorn and toss.  Bake in a preheated 250 degree oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool and store in airtight containers.

Side notes:

  • I use my largest stainless steel bowl, the one so big it doesn’t fit in the cabinet under the counter.
  • Pour the caramel on in thirds and toss.  You’ll get more even coverage that way.
  • Use a spoon with a long handle to stir it.  I use the spoon from a salad set.

One of the great things about this recipe is that it ships well.  Unlike cookies and brownies, it won’t quickly go stale.


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