Vanilla Caramel Popcorn with Sea Salt
Homemade caramel popcorn with a hint of sea salt.
I’ve been in a post-vacation style funk for the past week. Thankfully I had a selection of posts ready to go because I didn’t do anything special for the blog after getting back from Orlando. Not even one new recipe created in a week and a half and no major brainstorming for the weeks to come. I was torn between stressed and feeling blasé about it all. It was nice to have that time off, even if I didn’t intend for it to happen. Sometimes you just need some time away from the norm and for me – creating recipes and playing in the kitchen is the norm. I’m hoping to cut back a bit over the summer too. It’s an idea anyway… we’ll see how far I get with that, but for now that’s the plan anyway. Otherwise, when does one take a vacation from something that’s on-going. Blogging seems to be a daily thing. I know many who go away on vacation and still have blog and business on the mind. It’s hard to disconnect sometimes.
And speaking of summer… I know many of you are already kicking off your summer breaks but in New Hampshire, we still have a full month of school ahead before our break begins. I’m trying to brainstorm a list of fun activities to do with my kids. Besides the usual basic things around the house I haven’t much of a list and I don’t want it to be jam packed either but if you have suggestions, I’m all ears! So far the ideas are things like going to the zoo (or zoos), maybe a trip to the beach but I might go kicking and screaming because even though I love the ocean I hate the sand… go out for ice cream, have a movie date, mini golf (or put-put…whichever you want to call it), bowling etc. See…nothing major but random fun things that I hope that kids would enjoy. Inexpensive ideas for even messing around at the house would be great if you have those! :) Thanks in advance.
One of my favorite baseball snacks has always been nachos – spicy, cheesy and just amazing. But next to that it’s always been cracker jack (aka caramel popcorn with peanuts) but since my son has a nut allergy, we can’t have those. That’s totally fine since homemade is worlds better anyway. Of course, I do miss the peanuts in cracker jack SO much. They were my favorite part. Weird, right? I use to dig to the bottom to get those. They were special and tasted amazing. If you really want to add peanuts to this, by all means but don’t feel you have to because this caramel corn is amazing without them and then it’s one less ingredient that you have to buy. I’ve made caramel corn in the past with peanuts, so feel free to check that recipe out.
The key to baked caramel corn is tossing the mixture occasionally and watching closely for the change in color. It can go from tasting amazing to burnt in a heartbeat. Once the caramel darkens just enough, remove and allow to cool – while tossing so it doesn’t form into a giant sheet of caramel corn. That’d be amazing but kind of awkward to eat with your friends and family.
Trust me, you want to make this for your movie nights and gatherings this summer!
Vanilla Caramel Popcorn with Sea Salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 C popping corn
- 1/4 C unsalted butter
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- 1/4 C corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, heat vegetable oil and popping corn. Cover with a lid and optional splatter screen. Cook until popping kernels slow down. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl, discard un-popped kernels.
- In a double boiler over simmering water, melt butter. Add brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring to combine. Remove from heat. Mix in vanilla and baking soda. Sprinkle with course sea salt, give a quick but gentle stir to disperse sea salt. Immediately pour over popcorn. Toss to coat well. Spread caramel coated popcorn on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven when caramel darkens slightly to a light amber.
- Break up popcorn as caramel hardens. Store in an airtight container.