Friday, February 17, 2012

Gooey Salted-Caramel Popcorn

It seems like salted caramel is a big deal these days.  Have you noticed?  Maybe it's always been a big deal and I'm just noticing, not sure.  It had been a while since we had caramel popcorn at our house.  We were so hooked and the kettle corn (still are) that we made it every time we wanted sweet popcorn.  Then, Jesse posted a caramel popcorn recipe on her blog and I saw the pictures.  I really shouldn't look at food blogs because then I get things in my head.  I just can't help it.  Her recipe was a little different than the one I had been using.  Not a lot.  All the same ingredients, just a little less butter and more brown sugar.  I decided to try hers since there was less butter, I figured it's healthier, right?  (I know, I am delusional.  Just go with me on it.)  I had some
coarse salt on hand for something else and decided to try salted-caramel popcorn, just to be cool like everyone else.  I guess everyone has a point with this salting business because it was so addicting.  This isn't the kind of popcorn you can eat and play cards at the same time.  It's gooey decliciousness will get in the way, but who can play cards with one hand while using the other to shove popcorn in their mouth anyway?  Perfect movie-night popcorn.  Needless to say everyone loves it.  You can double this to use the whole can of milk if you are having a party, but this is plenty for our family.

Salted-Caramel Popcorn
Slightly adapted from Diaries of a Cookaholic
2 bags microwave popcorn (or about 4 quarts popped if you don't want to use bags)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp salt (if you popped your own popcorn, increase this to 1/2 tsp)
2 large bowls
Coarse salt to serve

In a saucepan, melt butter, add corn syrup, brown sugar, milk and salt.  Heat to boiling and simmer until sugar is dissolved (about 4-5 minutes).  Empty popcorn into a bowl, shake and toss the bowl for a couple minutes so that all the kernels slide to the bottom of the bowl.  Using your hands, take handfuls at a time and transfer popcorn to the other bowl
Until all popcorn is transferred.
Discard kernels.  
Pour caramel over popcorn 
and mix with a spatula to combine well.  
Sprinkle with coarse salt to taste and serve.
Don't have sweetened condensed milk?  In college, we used to make caramel popcorn with 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of corn syrup (boil until sugar dissolves and pour over 2 bags of microwave popcorn).  My roommate Kjirsten (Valerie, you were there :)) introduced me to it and that was my favorite recipe for about 10 years.  It's still delicious, but I think you add sweetened condensed milk to anything, it's bound to make it better.  On nights we NEED caramel popcorn (it happens), but don't have the milk, we still make it that way.

Have a great weekend!


  1. genius idea to add salt! i will try that next time!

  2. Why don't I remember this popcorn??? You were probably making it on the nights I was out getting dumped again by now said husband.:-) And BTW I tried your kettle corn. Very good but I only got about 80% of the kernels to pop before the others started to burn. Maybe I just need to practice more.

    1. Some people probably don't only remember the food! Remember that time we put dead frogs on someone's windshield?? We should have made popcorn after that.
      Yeah, practice will help. You could turn down the heat a little, or I just lift the pan up (while still shaking) until they popping slows and then put it back on the heat. I end up picking it up and putting it down a few times. I sometimes shake up and down too to try to get the kernels off the bottom. Hope that helps.

    2. Dead frogs on windshields?! I do not remember that and I think I would have. These kids have sucked away many memories but not something as crazy as that. :-) So I just made Kjirsten's version of popcorn but not thinking I added white sugar instead of brown. Not bad though. I am planning on getting some sweet milk to make your popcorn this weekend. And I will have to try your suggestions on the kettle corn. Love your blog!

  3. LOVE sweetened condensed milk - member me at Thanksgiving just eating it straight from the can? Ya, this is my problem lately - I have a terrible diet!
    This recipe looks delicious!!!

  4. We are planning for a birthday party of our cousin and we have collected different recipes for confectionary items. The popcorn dish is looking delicious and we have decided to rent popcorn machine to make tasty popcorn in minutes for kids. Moreover popcorn machines are very easy to use and we will surely follow your recipe.
    hire popcorn machine


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