As I was flipping through The Farm and City Cookbook in my mum's kitchen, my fingers stopped on this recipe. Caramel corn. Mmm. I stood there and started reminiscing. When I was little, popcorn with salt and butter was a special Friday night treat. That is something I remember about my mum; popcorn was one of her favourite treats (that and licorice, which she would hide in the drawer under the tea towels!). I'd help get the air popper out and fill it with kernels. My mum would drizzle the popped corn with butter and sprinkle some salt on it before she portioned it (I am inclined to say rationed because there was never enough to share with my brothers!) into separate bowls.
On extra special occasions (I don't know when these were, but probably when my mum had energy to spare) she would make us caramel corn. I don't know how this tradition started, but she would pop the corn and then drizzle the caramel sauce on, and serve it like that, without baking it in the oven. It was to die for, and that is how I grew up eating caramel corn. Warm caramel sauce drizzled over popcorn, searching for a cluster that had extra caramel.
Now, the tradition is to make caramel corn on Christmas Eve, but we bake it in the oven. Of course, I reserve a small bowl of "raw" caramel corn to snack on. My mum bakes it in a roasting pan, like the recipe suggests. I halfed the recipe and used one 9x13 pan, which also worked well. Like most baked goods, it tastes the best on the day made. I store it in a zip lock bag but it's gone within a few days!
Ps. I grew up pronouncing it "carmle" corn. All of the linguists out there will be happy to know I've converted to saying "car-a-mel" over the years :)
1 cup popping corn
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup (golden syrup works too)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pop the corn, transfer it into a large roasting pan, and set aside.
Heat sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda.
Drizzle hot caramel over the popped corn and stir together (with peanuts, if using) in the roasting pan.
Bake at 250°F (120°C) for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Makes ~16 cups.
*Recipe from the Farm and City Cookbook.