Oh my goodness, how have we never made this before. How, I ask you, how?! It isn't really worth pointing fingers or placing blame, so long as it is remedied from this point forward.
I found this incredible recipe from Pineapple and Coconut and was drawn to it because it did not contain corn syrup. Being Australian, we don't typically use corn syrup and would lean towards more real ingredients, and well, less corn substitutes! So when I came across this recipe on Pinterest and had every ingredient already in my cupboard, I pinned away and waited for an excuse to try it out, and if Easter isn't the best excuse to eat excessive amounts of sugar well I don't know what is.
I did make a few mistakes with this batch though. The first was halving the recipe. Big mistake, huge. The second mistake was in cooking time, so we lost half the batch to being overcooked. So, instead of one full batch, it feels like we've ended up with a quarter batch. Which, makes it a little better in that its almost finished... between the two of us...in one afternoon! Oh shame, guess we'll have to make another batch tomorrow to take to our friends' house. Shame.
1 cup of unsalted butter
2 cups of brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 t baking soda
6 quarts of popped popcorn (which is 29.8 cups apparently! Or... in layman's terms, two bags of microwave popcorn!)
1 1/2 t sea salt flakes
1. Heat butter, sugar and honey in a pot until melted, stirring constantly.
2. Increase the heat and let the buttery sugar boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately add the vanilla, baking soda and salt, whilst stirring furiously. The vanilla makes it smell incredible and the baking soda makes it very bubbly, so be sure to use a pot that is deep enough.
3. Halve the popcorn and pour half the caramel mixture over the popcorn and mix through. Add the rest of the popcorn and caramel and mix thoroughly to coat all the popcorn.
4. Spread on baking trays and place in a moderately slow oven (150C/250F). The original recipe said to bake for an hour, turning the popcorn every 15 minutes. But, after the first 15 minutes, the top tray had started burning (I had the temp too high too), so I would recommend checking it after 10 minutes, tossing it with tongs, and if it still needs a little more, maybe give it another 5-10.
Tasting the finished product was a revelation! It took us both straight back to the lolly shop at UQ in which a cup of Caramel Popcorn was a treat we'd get to get through an otherwise mindless Stats lecture. This was better, there was no Stats to sit through!!
Oh my word, stop reading blogs, go and make some!