My kids are hardcore junk eaters, they love eating sweet things (got it from my Better Half – BH). Baking cookies and cakes came to me because of them. I have never been a conscious nutritionist. My food mantra is that, if you eat in moderation – no food is bad.
All said, you will never find chips, chocolate and cookies in my shopping cart. The Kids’ grandparents get the credit for spoiling them with those treats. I can be the villain who says no chocolates at supermarkets knowing that they always get those things from their grandparents. I have the honor of being the mother who makes cookies and cakes at home. Its kind of great to hear the kids say that,” My friends say YOU are the best cook!!” Kind of like getting a Michelin star.
These caramel popcorn balls are one of those things that got me some stars. My daughter had a picinic and she needed to take something. She is now of the age, where the popularity with the friends means a lot. I try my level best to keep her grounded. But this time I thought what the heck, let me go all out and make her a super star. Along with some other goodies I made these popcorn balls. Truly delicious. I ended up hiding a few of them for me and BH.
Pop ½ cup of popcorn and set aside
For the Caramel
Butter – 226 gms / 1 cup
Brown sugar – 2 cups
Corn sysrup – ½ cup (If don’t have it at hand, leave it)
Vanilla – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Baking soda – ½ tsp
- In a thick bottomed saucepan which can hold double the amount of the caramel (coz this caramel will bubble up), melt the butter.
- Preheat the oven to 95 C / 250 F. Also, have a baking tray ready which can hold the caramelized popcorn or have two pans ready. This is a huge batch, but let me tell you one thing – There is no such thing as leftover caramel popcorn!!!
- To this add the sugar and corn syrup. Keep stirring until all the sugar is melted and the mixture looks glossy.
- Let this boil unstirred for another 2-3 min on medium heat. Be careful not to burn this. If you suspect burning, take the pan away from the heat and swirl it about. Do this till the mixture bubbles up.
- Switch of the flame and add the baking soda. WARNING: This mixture will froth and rise up. Be careful at this stage.
- Add the salt and stir it around till the caramel settles down
- Immediately pour this it into the popcorn bowl. Pour some and stir, pour some more and stir keep doing this until you are out of caramel.
- You should now have a big bowl of sticky, gooey, caramely popcorn.
- Take and handful of it and eat! Just to make sure everything tastes OK.
- Spread this out into the prepared baking trays.
- Put it in the oven and bake for 30 min, stirring after every 10 min.
- Once the 30-min mark is done, take the popcorn out of the oven and let it rest for a few min. (But if you don’t want to make balls, just caramel popcorn – continue the step 11 for another 30 min)
- Grease your palms with a little bit of oil and roll out the caramel popcorn into balls and let it air dry for around 10 – 15 min (if you can wait!)
- These popcorn stays crisp in an airtight container for a day.