It is a cold October night, and I decided I would make some caramel popcorn, so I'm going to share with you how I'm going about doing that. The basic process—as the butter is sizzling in there—the basic process is to make some caramel, pour it over some popcorn, and then bake that for almost an hour. And I've got everything pretty much going here.
I've done a little bit of prep work, but it's nothing too complicated. I've popped some popcorn, and I've preheated the oven to 250, two hundred and fifty degrees, and I put one stick of butter in a pan, which I'll show you in just a second.
Before I do that—let me just shake that again; don't want it to burn—I want to show you the popcorn. Here's the popcorn with some nuts added in. You can see here just about as much popcorn as I popped. I don't really have a specific recipe; it's just as much as I think works. So, you just sort of have to do with that as you will. I actually pop two, um, two batches in the microwave, and that makes about this much. So, up to you.
So let me show you what I've got here. There's the butter. I put it on a burner set to three out of ten. And now we're going to add the rest of the stuff for the caramel. That's just plain, unsalted butter. You can use salted, too, if you want. I've got some brown sugar here, I'm going to add a cup of it. Just put in enough there. <beep> And that means my oven's ready. There we go. Careful with that. Move that around a bit. One cup of brown sugar. Yeah, that'll incorporate over time. A cup of butter, err, a cup of brown sugar.
A quarter of a cup of corn syrup. This is light corn syrup, that will keep this nice and gooey and easy to work with. There's the quarter cup and we'll get the rest of it out there. There we are. Stir that around a bit. And we'll add a little bit of salt.
Now we want to incorporate this as much as possible, but that corn syrup really isn't going to incorporate with everything else. Because corn syrup is, uh, is a different sort of...different form than the rest of it, so there's that. Add a teaspoon of salt—Kosher, of course. And then we will stir a little bit more. We want to wait until this is nice and bubbling. Now you notice this is pretty dark. That's because I'm using dark brown sugar. But we're going to later add some baking soda, which will lighten this up considerably. All right, that's fairly well incorporated. And we let that sit for a minute, let the heat from the bottom rise up through the pan and heat our caramel mixture. And as long as you stir it, you're incorporating more cool air into it and it doesn't heat as quickly. So we're going to heat this as quickly as possible by not stirring it.
Meanwhile, while we're waiting for that, I'm going to prepare a few pans for this. Let me show you the pans first. I have here two baking pans, rimmed. Rimmed is better. I recommend, if you're going to get baking sheets, I recommend that you get two rimmed baking sheets or cookie sheets and that's all you'll really need.
So, we're going to do some prep over here. There's the popcorn. <points at pan> That's heating up. We want to wait until that's boiling, so we need to see big bubbles. We're going to wait for that to heat up, and I'm going to prep these with...this. This is parchment paper. Parchment paper is a silicone-treated paper which you can bake with. It'll actually go into the oven, get as hot as you want, and it won't burn up. So, there's that...and there's the other one.
Now, let's look back at our pan. Look down there. You can see it's bubbling really in the middle. I want to stir this one more time. Kindda get that incorporated all around. It's definitely coming to a boil. We want this to boil for about three minutes. So I'll set my timer, right here, turn it on, and it's been going for a while, so I'll set this for only two minutes. Let that sit there.
Now, I'm not going to spend all the time to actually show you baking it, and go through all that process, because it would take too much time, and I want to keep this short. So, the process is going to be: I'm going to finish the caramel, pour it over the popcorn and nuts, and then put that on the cookie sheets, put that in the oven, and bake it at 250 for 50 minutes, five-zero minutes. But, about every ten minutes, roughly, I will remove it and stir it around. The reason I do that is because the caramel is not going to coat everything equally. But while it bakes, it's just hot enough that the caramel is melted and you can go and you can stir it and get the caramel over more of the material. So you want to bake that and, every so often, pull it out so you can get more of that caramel incorporated. Otherwise, you'll end up with half of the popcorn with a lot of caramel on it, and half of it with very little on it, and it won't stay together. So, that's the idea, if you can keep it going like that.
We're just about done. All right. Let's see what this looks like. Now the baking soda is going to make this become a lot lighter and it's going to expand very quickly. So I'm going to put in the vanilla first, so that'll have a chance to go in. That is on teaspoon of vanilla. We'll just add that right in. And it's going to pop and fizz a little bit because that's very hot and this is very cold, or rather room temperature. There we go. And you could smell that vanilla, if we had Smell-O-Vision. There we go. Nice and incorporated. And now we add our quarter teaspoon of baking soda. Watch what happens.
Now the problem is, as soon as I take this off the burner, it's going to start to cool down and solidify. So, as soon as I put this on the popcorn and peanuts, I'm going to want to stir that as quickly as possible. See, it's getting much lighter and it's getting bigger, slowly but surely. So, as soon as this goes onto the popcorn, I'm going to want to stir very, very quickly. So, there's that.
I'm going to move the camera a little bit, so you can see a little bit better, hopefully. There's that caramel. Now I'm going to take it over. Let's swing around so you can see everything over here, hopefully. All right, now. Caramel goes over the popcorn and peanuts. Getting all of it on there. Now it's already starting to solidify. So, very quickly: we mix. Very quickly. And we try not to get hot caramel on our finger, like I just did, because that hurts a lot. Mmm! Mmm. Tasty, though. And we stir as much as we can. So we can get this caramel on to this popcorn. Now it's already starting to solidify, so we've got a very uneven mixture here. But we're doing our best. There we go. Yeah, see we've got a lot of popcorn that's not quite ready to go there. But, that is okay. Whoops. Lost a little there.
So now, this goes onto our baking sheets. About half onto one...a little more there. And about half onto the other one. Now the peanuts, especially, will not want to stay with everything else; that's one of the reasons you're stirring so much. Now we're going to spread that out a little bit. It's hot, but not that hot, so I can afford to do this. Without really burning...ow! Don't do that! Spread it out a little bit. Yeah. You want a lot more caramel than that on these.
So, again, we put this in the oven for fifty minutes at 250. Every ten minutes or so, we take it out, stir it around a bit, and then at the end we will have...uh, we'll have caramel popcorn!