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Linda’s Baked Caramel Corn

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     This recipe makes the perfect crunchy, buttery caramel corn.  It is perfect for a party and just like what you get at the baseball stadium.  The best part is you can make it ahead!

crunchy caramel corn spilled on dark background.

      When you sweet tooth hits, but you also need something crunchy and a little salty, caramel corn is the perfect answer.  This recipe makes nice crisp but buttery and sweet caramel corn. 

It comes together quickly and then bakes to the perfect finish.  It is a must make for movie night, parties and game day!

 When we decided to throw a baseball themed baby shower for my little sister, we knew we had to have all of the bases covered. (Ha! See what I did there?!)

   We needed peanuts, hot dogs and nachos.  We needed plenty of pennants and of course we needed caramel corn.

  After all, you can’t have a day at the ballpark without something along the lines of Cracker Jacks, can you? I was immediately volunteered for the role of caramel corn maker.  I have been making my husband’s grandma’s recipe for the last few years and it is always a hit.

     I knew I had all of the ingredients on hand, so I didn’t worry too much about it.  That is until I went to make it!

       You see her recipe starts the way you’d expect to make caramel corn. You mix together brown sugar and butter and all of the goodies to make a caramel.

    Then you pour it over the popcorn… but that is where the familiar part ends. She puts it all in a brown paper grocery sack, gives it a few good shakes and finished it in the microwave.

    You take it out to shake it a few times and then spread it out to cool.  The result is that perfectly crunchy caramel corn you’d expect when trying to emulate a box of ballpark famous Cracker Jacks.

golden crunchy caramel coated popcorn and peanuts.

      So I went to the cabinet where we keep the paper bags and it was bare!  We almost always bring cloth bags to the grocery store, but I try to remember to get paper bags while we are there every so often.

      I do like to use them to keep track of the paper for the recycling bin and of course to make an occasional batch of caramel corn.  But it looked like the recycle bin had been the lucky recipient of the last bag… and I needed to make caramel corn!!

     That’s when it hit me.  Linda (of carrot cake fame) makes great caramel corn, and she finishes it in the oven.  Sure, it would take a bit longer but I knew the results would be fabulous.

     When I used to live nearby, she’d have to make an extra batch if she knew I was going to be around.  The stuff is so addictive!   I love mine with plenty of peanuts and within arm’s reach!

       So I made a couple of big batches.  It was every bit as good as I remembered it being.  I bagged some up for favors and put a bag at each place for the shower.

cellophane bags filled with caramel corn and tied with ribbon.

      I kept the rest in an airtight container until party time and then put it in big bowls at the center of the tables.  People kept reaching for it and had it nearly polished off during the party and it wasn’t for lack of options!  That’s how you know it’s good.

      The best part is you can make it ahead of time if you are wanting it for a party.  Just keep it sealed and it will hold for a week or two, or so I’ve heard.  I’ve never managed to keep it around that long.  I know it does keep for at least 5 days.

     So go ahead and make a batch, or maybe go ahead and make two.  You might as well!

More great popcorn recipes:

Yield: 20 Servings (About 5 quarts)

Baked Caramel Corn

cellophane bags filled with caramel corn and tied with ribbon.

This recipe makes the perfect crunchy, buttery caramel corn.  It is perfect for a party and just like what you get at the baseball stadium.  The best part is you can make it ahead!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 quarts popped popcorn
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups peanuts (or as desired)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F and grease a couple of rimmed baking sheets.
  2. In a large saucepan, cook butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt until it begins to boil.
  3. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and carefully stir in baking soda.
  4. Pour hot caramel over popped popcorn and peanuts to coat. Spread over the greased baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes at 250°F, stirring every 15 minutes.
  6. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 304Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 261mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 25gProtein: 4g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

This recipe makes the perfect crunchy, buttery caramel corn. It is perfect for a party and just like what you get at the baseball stadium. The best part is you can make it ahead!

Share with your friends!

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Unknown

Sunday 29th of October 2017

I must be blind, I do not see the amount of salt. Thank you

Carlee

Sunday 29th of October 2017

Sorry about that! A pinch or about a 1/4 tsp will do it. There will be plenty of salt from the peanuts as well to give you that sweet and salty flavor.

Megan Chamberlin

Monday 3rd of July 2017

I've never thought to make my own caramel corn, that's awesome! #MerryMonday

Carlee

Tuesday 4th of July 2017

Oh my goodness, you have to try it! It is sooooo good!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Wednesday 28th of June 2017

Kind of embarrassed to say this, but I still have never made caramel corn! Maybe it's because I am afraid of eating it all! Seriously though, this sounds delicious!

Carlee

Saturday 1st of July 2017

Oh my goodness!!! March into the kitchen and make some right now! The fear of eating it all is real, though. I don't trust myself with a batch unless there is a group to share it with.

Deepika|TheLoveOfCakes

Tuesday 27th of June 2017

Who doesn't love to munch on some good popcorn :D...And buttery caramelly popcorn is even better!! Definitely need to try this recipe soon :). Thanks for sharing Carlee!

Carlee

Saturday 1st of July 2017

Isn't caramel corn the best? I hope you love it!

Amy

Tuesday 27th of June 2017

Oh the good old days of Cracker Jacks. That brings back some pretty good memories. This recipe sounds delicious. I'm impressed that you thought to finish up the popcorn in the oven. What did people do before microwaves!?! We are kind of spoiled, aren't we? Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Carlee

Saturday 1st of July 2017

We are spoiled! I didn't know you could do it in a microwave until my husband came along. Luckily both versions come out delicious!

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