I've made caramel corn at Christmastime for many, many years, as it makes a great gift for coworkers and friends. And since I've gotten a few recipe exchange emails lately (which I won't be forwarding but appreciate the sentiment), I thought I'd share this recipe here with you today.
It's one of those tried-and-true, easy recipes that came from a friend's mom who made the best caramel corn I'd ever tasted. This was back in the early '80s, when I had better handwriting but my college-educated self apparently could not spell the word "caramel."
I spelled it like we say it here in Wisconsin: 'CAR-mel.
We also say things like "Oh, yah" and "Hey, dere." I'm just sayin'...*
Anyway, popcorn. You need two big batches of unsalted popcorn. I use an air popper and fill up my turkey roaster.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Then, in a saucepan over medium heat, melt a stick of UNsalted butter and a stick of margarine with 2 cups of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of dark Karo syrup, and 2 teaspoons of salt. When this starts boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue boiling it for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in a scant 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
That's the fun part, because it gets all foamy. Yah hey, it does. Okay den.
Pour the caramel mixture over the corn and give it a stir. Don't get too crazy with the stirring though, because you don't want to crush the corn kernels. Go easy dere, hey.
After the fourth and final stir, immediately dump the caramel corn onto the waxed paper and spread it out to cool.
Then eat! Or, bag it up and give it away. Or freeze it (we Wisconsinites call that putting it out in da garage).
*I have never used "dese, dems, and dose" in conversation, nor did my parents. I'll never forget the comment of my first boss, who said one of the reasons he hired me was because I could "speak the King's English." (That's Wisconsinese for "articulate.") Saying "Yah," however, is another matter...