I’m not much of a popcorn person but for some reason this recipe jumped out at me when I was searching for this month’s Secret Recipe Club recipe. I was assigned Fallon’s Cucina which is filled with tons of recipe, a lot of them being healthy. Fallon’s blog was really fun to go through.
It was this recipe that I chose but I did leave off the chocolate. I had some issues with the recipe but I’m sure that was all my fault. My caramel clumped on the popcorn a lot (resulting in those chicken nugget-looking popcorn pieces you see above) but I think it’s because I didn’t use enough popcorn. So the caramel really had nothing to do but clump on the popcorn. So yeah, a bag of popcorn is not a good substitution for the cup of kernels the recipe calls for.
That said, it was still really tasty! And it was really fun to make since I usually avoid popcorn recipes.
Pop popcorn using your preferred method. Put in a very large bowl that allows for you to toss the popcorn around well.
Preheat the oven to 250F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
To make the caramel, melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, mix in the corn syrup, brown sugar and salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.
Once the mixture reaches a boil, let the mixture continue to boil for 5 more minutes without stirring. Remove the mixture from the heat, stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract. The mixture will bubble up and become frothy. Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn in the bowl and toss to coat thoroughly.
Spread the popcorn evenly onto the prepared sheets. Bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. After 40 minutes, test a cooled piece of popcorn. If it is not completely crispy (i.e. still slightly mushy when you bite it), bake for 10 minutes more.
Remove the baking sheets to a wire rack and allow popcorn to cool completely before breaking apart for serving or packaging.