1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
12 cups popped popcorn (about 1 cup kernels before popping), preferably warm from being freshly popped. Salt popcorn to taste.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets (jelly roll pans) or roasters with aluminum foil and grease with cooking spray.
Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup, and stir to combine.
Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer undisturbed for 5 minutes.
Stir, then continue to cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until the mixture is a deep golden color.
Turn off the heat and slowly whisk in salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Be very careful - the mixture will bubble at this point.
Stir in the popcorn and toss until it is evenly coated with the caramel, scraping the caramel from the bottom of the pot.
Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets in an even layer.
Bake for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until the caramel corn has turned a deep amber color.
Remove caramel corn from oven and transfer to a surface covered with parchment paper to cool.
Once it is cool, use your hands to break up the caramel corn.
Store in an airtight container or zip-lock bag for up to a week.
Pairs Well With
Our family loves popcorn, and we make it frequently. As a special treat, we make this caramel corn. Sometimes we add a jar of dry roasted peanuts to the popcorn before adding the caramel.