Part of the hesitation in making caramel corn is the sticky, gooey mess that remains once you've finished making it. You almost need a blow torch to remove the hardened sugary stuff from your pans.
Help is on the way! This recipe can be made in your microwave, and when you're finished, you can just throw the paper sack away.
This doesn't mean that it doesn't take a little preparation time, but at least you can relax and enjoy the finished product without having to worry about a lot of cleanup.
Next time you go to the grocery store, ask for your groceries in paper bags. You'll need one bag per batch.
Here's what you'll need:
Pop the corn and discard the unpopped kernels. Put the popped corn in the paper sack. While the corn is popping, put the butter, sugar, salt and syrup in a glass bowl and bring it to a boil in your microwave. Stir after one minute, and let it boil for an additional minute. Add one tsp of baking soda and stir well, until thickened. It will turn light in color and look like taffy. Pour this mixture over the popped corn in the paper bag and shake well. Put the paper bag back in the microwave and cook an additional 1-1/2 minutes (90 seconds). Remove and shake well again. Return to the microwave and cook another 1-1/2 minutes. Shake again. Open the bag and let it cool. You can even tear the bag down the side and speed up the process.
Plan to make more than one batch because you'll want to eat the first one! Great for Christmas or birthday gifts. I gave this as a Christmas gift to my co-workers one year and the next year they started hinting for it again in September.
Once completely cooled, break up the chunks, put it in a plastic holiday bag and tie with a festive ribbon. If you eat a lot of ice cream the containers with lids make a great receptacle for packing the caramel corn. Save your ice cream containers throughout the year, wash them out, line with plastic wrap and stick a bow on the top. Include the recipe and directions unless you want to tell them it's an old family secret, but let me warn you that if you don't share the recipe, they will come back next year begging for more.
By Joyce Moseley Pierce
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