Caramel Corn Clusters
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- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (5 ounces) salted peanuts
- Special equipment: a candy thermometer
- Heat oil with 3 kernels in a 3-quart heavy saucepan, covered, over moderate heat
until 1 or 2 kernels pop.
- Remove lid and quickly add remaining kernels, then cook, covered, shaking pan
frequently, until kernels stop popping, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and uncover.
- Line bottom of a large shallow baking pan with foil. Lightly oil foil.
- Melt butter in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat.
- Add brown sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring,
then boil, without stirring, until syrup registers 300 degrees F on thermometer,
8 to 10 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat.
- Using a wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula, stir salt and baking soda into syrup,
then quickly stir in peanuts and popcorn to coat.
- Immediately spread mixture in baking pan as thinly and evenly as possible.
- Cool completely, then break into bite-size pieces.
Yield: about 12 cups
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