Two weeks ago you might have seen my post for Salted Caramel Popcorn Cheesecake. The recipe suggests using store-bought or homemade caramel corn so this post is to help you out for going the homemade route. Does anyone remember those huge tins that came out around the holidays that had the three different types of popcorn in them? I remember this being a big nineties thing and wonder if people still send this. I always preferred the caramel corn over the cheddar and plain. This was probably an early sign of my sweet tooth at age seven. As we all know, salt is an excellent addition to popcorn and combining it with the sweet element of caramel sauce takes it to that next level. Anyway, this caramel corn tasted great atop of cheesecake but the majority of it was demolished as a stand-alone snack. It's also super exciting to make your own caramel sauce and depending on how much you make you can save the extra for a different seasonal baking project! I hope you enjoy this satisfying and sticky recipe for homemade caramel corn.
Have you ever made your own caramel corn? What's your favorite popcorn add in?
Salted Caramel Corn
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate
For the Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cups granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
For the Popcorn
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
For the Salted Caramel Sauce
- Make sure all ingredients are ready. It's easy to burn caramel sauce so you have to be very attentive once you start. This warning comes from unfortunate experience with burning caramel.
- To begin, heat the sugar over medium high-heat in the bottom of a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking the sugar. The sugar will clump up, but keep whisking. It will continue to melt. When the sugar is melted, stop whisking. You can swirl the pan to move the sugar around.
- Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber color. Make sure you watch the pan very closely. This is where it is easy to burn the caramel. You want the caramel to reach 350 degrees F if you choose to use a thermometer.
- As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber color, carefully add the butter. Whisk until butter is melted. If the sugar gets stuck to the whisk, you can switch to a wooden spoon.
- Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the sea salt last.
- Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Pour the caramel into a glass container and cool to room temperature.
- If there is extra caramel sauce, transfer to refrigerator and store for up to 1 month.
For the Salted Caramel Popcorn
- In a sauce pan, put the vegetable oil and 2 kernels of popcorn. Set at medium heat and cover. When the two kernels pop, it is time to add the rest of the popcorn.
- Add 1/2 cup popcorn kernels and cover. Shake occasionally so bottom popcorn doesn't burn. The popcorn in done popping when it is 2 seconds between pops. Remove from heat.
- Place popped popcorn in a large bowl and pour salted caramel sauce over it in a steady stream. Mix with your hands or a spatula to make sure kernels are evenly coated with sauce.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat (excellent use for one of these as caramel is the worst to clean off bakeware) spread the salted caramel popcorn out in an even layer
- Bake for one hour, breaking up chunks every 15 minutes
- When popcorn has cooled, break up any chunks and place in an airtight container
See Related: Salted Caramel Frosting