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Caramel popcorn is an old school treat indeed. But is there a way to put a new twist on it? After all, the Damsel doesn’t scorn newfangled ways. That is not her objective. She loves it when she can put a new twist on an old trick. She thinks you’ll find this easy and a bit amazing. Plus, it’s a fun thing to do with kids.

You won’t need a pot. Just a paper grocery sack and a microwavable bowl. See? Toldja it was amazing. No candy thermometer required! For some reason, the Damsel harbors an unreasonable fear of candy thermometers.

Procure 4 quarts of popped popcorn.

You could air pop it, or do it old school on the stove as shown here. The Damsel doubts microwave popcorn would work very well because it already has gunk on it. Nice, plain, unadulterated popcorn is best.

Pour the popcorn into a regular brown paper grocery sack. Some people feel better about things if they spray the sack with Pam first, but the Damsel didn’t think it made much difference.

In a medium microwavable bowl:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cube butter or margarine (1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup karo syrup

Just put it all in the bowl. No need to even stir it at this point. Microwave for 2 minutes (tested on a fully armed microwave). Take it out–the stuff should look sort of excited…kind of foamy.  Stir, mixing all the ingredients well. Microwave for one more minute. Once again, the mixture will be boiling big time.

Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Don’t skip this! Without it you’ll just have a mess. Stir well.

Pour the mixture over the popcorn in the paper sack. You will feel odd doing this, but persevere.

Roll the top of the sack down a time or two, and shake the bag to coat all the popcorn. The bag will get a bit damp in places. Try not to worry too much. Press forward.

Stick the whole bag into the microwave and nuke for 1 minute. Take the bag out, shake a few more times.

Put it back in the microwave for 1 final minute. Shake shake shake.

Now, things are pretty much done, but the caramel popcorn needs to harden and get crunchy. To help this along, the corn needs to be spread out. Some folks dump the corn out of the bag onto cookie sheets or wax paper. The Damsel, being naturally lazy, just cuts the paper bag so it can lay flat and spreads the corn out with a spoon. Careful! Hot sugar burns. You could even add peanuts at this point, and end up with something very like Cracker Jack.

After only a few minutes the caramel corn is ready for snarfing.

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  • cozy

    This is the same way I've made carmel corn for years, so yummy!! Thanks for sharing the pics…

  • the MomBabe

    THIS I can do.

    • the_damsel

      Let me know how it comes out!Margot (The Damsel)

  • I love this line, "You will feel odd doing this, but persevere."

    Growing up, we had this huge, monster microwave oven that would fit a paper bag almost standing right side up. Now we have a tiny microwave that barely fits a small syrup jar.

    I need a bigger Microwave.

    • the_damsel

      Yup. Even if it's just for this. **giggle

  • Janine

    Sounds yummy! We love caramel popcorn!!!

  • Oh how I love caramel corn!

  • Brilliant!

  • Oh yum! I wonder if you could also pop the popcorn right in the paper bag…. I have heard of people doing that with the smaller paper bags but I have never had the guts to try it myself. And 4 qts might be a bit much to do at once, I imagine.

    • the_damsel

      Hey, you are right…I have heard of people popping it in the bag. It might be hard to make sure you get 4 quarts but I think I'll have to try that.

  • Carol

    I have a corny question for you. What kind of corn should I buy to grind in my K-Tec mill or blender? I've used popcorn, but I'm wondering what to get in bulk. Maybe just popcorn? I don't know about all that lime water soaking whatever for dent corn and I'm confused.

    Happy to have you in my feed reader again. 🙂

    • the_damsel

      Good question. I've only used popcorn, but mostly because any other kind isn't very readily available. I will look into it. I don't know a lot about dent corn. Sounds like a good thing to know about.

  • Amber

    Yeah, this is pretty much the perfect way to end the holiday season. With more desserts. Bring it on, Damsel, bring it on.

  • I also harbor a fear of candy thermometers, so I appreciate this recipe immensely!

    Seriously, Damsel, is there anything you can't do?

    • the_damsel

      **snickerthanks…um…if you saw my windows…

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  • Nice!! I'll have to try that!

  • oh thank you, this sounds amazing

  • I love to see what I can do withOUT my microwave OR electricity, to get ready for an emergency.

  • Energy efficient activity. Caramel popcorn is really had a great taste. Something a bit salt and sweet. Perfect match.

  • Caramel popcorn is such a tradition to all of us. It is so good if we put twist on it like you do. Thanks for sharing.

  • I like caramel popcorn. I missed it. I used to buy some popcorn when I was in high school. Thanks for the post.