I grew up spending summers in Cape May and if any of us found ourselves up the parkway in Ocean City, my mom wouldn’t let us back in the house unless presented with a tub of Johnson’s caramel popcorn. It’s a snack I could give or take, to be honest. In the latest ATK magazine there was a section on quick and easy edible gifts. This popcorn was supposed to be spicy. In making it for the family (or friends with kids) I omitted the spice and added more nuts. I had to give away the lion’s share because I COULDN’T STOP EATING IT. It lasts for 2 months at room temperature, so make it now and you’ll have it through the holidays. OR, make it now and bag it to give away as gifts/with gift cards.
Makes 10 cups
10 cups popped popcorn
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. light corn syrup
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. table salt (1/4 tsp. if using salted popcorn)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. salted, roughly chopped almonds or peanuts
- Lightly spray large bowl and rimmed baking sheet with oil spray.
- Place popcorn in large bowl. Bring sugar, water and corn syrup to boil in medium saucepan over medium high heat (do not stir). Let cook until light brown in color.
- Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook, occasionally swirling the pan, until mixture is a dark amber (if you have a candy thermometer, temp should be between 340 and 360).
- Remove heat and add butter and salt. stir until fully combined.
- Return heat to pan on low and add baking soda. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is uniform in color.
- Add to popcorn and stir to coat. Stir in nuts. Spread in even layer on sheet pan. Let cool completely and store in airtight container up to two months.