Gourmet popcorn purchased in a specialty food store is an expensive treat. Make it at home to save money and eliminate preservatives or other unwanted ingredients. This recipe is tasty plain or studded with dried cranberries; exchange the cranberries for other stir-ins such as dried blueberries, nuts or mini chocolate pieces, if you prefer. Also ideal as a gift for friends and family.
Makes 12 servings
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
- Nonstick cooking spray
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add one unpopped kernel. When kernel pops, add the rest of the popcorn kernels. Cover the pot and gently shake as popcorn pops. When the majority of the popcorn has popped, remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Coat two large baking sheets and a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer popcorn to large bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine corn syrup, brown sugar and butter; bring to a boil. Stirring the ingredients constantly, boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add baking soda, cream of tartar and salt to mixture. Stir until well blended. Pour hot mixture over popcorn and mix until the popcorn is coated. Transfer the caramel corn to the baking pans and spread evenly. Bake for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle dried cranberries over the popcorn. Serve immediately, or if gift-giving let cool before packaging.
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