Celebrate National Caramel Popcorn Day with a sweet recipe

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By: Madeline Birky

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Struggling to get through that Monday-after-Easter sugar crash? Well you’re in luck, because today, Monday April 6, is National Caramel Popcorn Day. 

Popcorn isn’t hard to find in these parts, considering that Indiana is the second-largest popcorn producer in the nation (with nearly 20 percent of the total national supply). The Associated Press reported in January that Indiana farmers produced a record 432 million pounds of popcorn in 2014.

Try one of these delicious caramel popcorn recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Caramel Corn Without Corn Syrup
This recipe from Brown Thumb Mama is perfect for those interested in making a healthier caramel corn without corn syrup.

Ingredients

  • 10 cups popped popcorn (about ½ cup unpopped)
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda

Directions

  1. Put the popcorn in a large bowl and preheat the oven to 250F.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and mix in the sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and boil the mixture for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. It will change from grainy to smooth and then will begin to thicken and look like…well…caramel!
  4. Note: Don’t leave the stove while the caramel is boiling. It takes about .05 seconds for the mixture to overcook and turn brown instead of caramel-colored.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the vanilla, salt, and baking soda. The caramel will foam up when you add the baking soda, which is why you want to use a big saucepan.
  6. Carefully pour the hot caramel over the popcorn (grab a friend to help) and stir gently to combine.
  7. Pour the caramel corn onto two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Bake at 250F for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool and then serve. 

Paula Deen’s Caramel Corn
This classic Paula Deen recipe from Gluesticks blog is sure to excite your tastebuds. 

Ingredients

  • 6-8 quarts of air popped pop corn (2 batches)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup light karo syrup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Directions

  1. Place popcorn into a roasting pan or a large baking pan. Set aside.
  2. Combine butter, sugar, salt and karo syrup in a medium sauce pan and heat over med-high heat. When bubbly, set timer for 5 minutes and boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Stir.
  4. Pour over popped corn and stir to coat evenly. 
  5. Bake at 200 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Pour out onto waxed paper and cool.
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