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Popcorn!!

It is good stuff!!

It is …

  • so very easy to make
  • so incredibly inexpensive
  • so much fun to eat
  • so full of fiber and antioxidants, plus other good-for-you stuff

Hooray for popcorn!!

But, just a word, or two, of warning  …

  • it is not safe for children under 4 or 5 to eat (our family sticks to a 5 years of age rule)
  • and toppings can be the downfall of your healthy popcorn snack, so make wise choices

Which leads me to this recipe that I am so very excited to share with you …

Still inexpensive.  Still fun to eat.  Still easy to make.  Still has all those fantastic healthy qualities – but will be coated with not-healthy stuff.  So … snack away … in moderation. 🙂

Here’s the recipe …  Enjoy!

Caramel Popcorn

Cooking spray
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup light-colored corn syrup
2 ½ Tbsp butter
½ Tbsp light molasses
¾ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup peanuts
6 cups popcorn (popped without salt or fat)

I gave away my air popper a long time ago because it took up more space than I thought it was worth.  Now I pop popcorn according to the directions on the bag of kernels – about 3 Tbsp canola oil and enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pan, covered, over medium heat, shaking the pan gently constantly until it’s done popping.

Preheat oven to 250°.  Coat a large jelly roll pan with cooking spray.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring once.  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, baking soda, and salt.  Add peanuts and stir to coat.

It helps to do this next part quickly (before the caramel cools), maybe with a helper (to speed things up), and in a kitchen that is not too cool (Texas Guy likes the thermostat in our home set at Polar at all times, but it cools the caramel down way too quickly).   …  I’ve done it both in a bowl as described below and sometimes right on the prepared pan.  Both works fine.  …  This is a fun snack and making it should be fun and stress-free, also.

Place popcorn in a large bowl; pour sugar mixture over popcorn in a steady stream, stirring to coat.

If it doesn’t coat and cover as much as you want, don’t worry.  Later, each time you remove it from the oven, you will be able to break up any clumps you ended up with.   …   And if it doesn’t turn out exactly as you wish for it to, you can eat that batch and try again! 🙂

Spread popcorn mixture into prepared pan.  Bake  for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven; stir to break up any large clumps.  Cool 15 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

I think it should be fine to store for a week.  Ours has never lasted that long before being eaten. – I like to think this is because we have a large family.  There’s a huge hole in my theory as 2 of our family members are not old enough to eat popcorn. Drat. – I did save it one time for almost 24 hours and it sat overnight in a covered dish, though not airtight.  It was delicious aaaall the next day!

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