Butter Toffee Popcorn
*Note: you want about 18 cups of popped corn. I've found that about 1/4 cup of unpopped kernels yields about 5 1/2 to 6 cups popped corn. While the recipe calls for 3/4 cup unpopped kernels, be sure to only add it a bit at a time in shifts according to your popcorn popper so the kernels don't burn.
*Makes about 18 cups of toffee popcorn (that seems like a lot, but trust me, it goes fast!)
3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels, white or yellow
2 sticks butter
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 cups roasted, salted peanuts
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Grease two large rimmed baking sheets and set aside.
Pop the popcorn kernels, in shifts if needed to ensure your popcorn popper doesn't burn the popcorn, and place the popcorn in a large bowl, sifting through to remove the unpopped kernels.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When melted add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for 3 minutes. The mixture will be slightly thickened. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will bubble so be careful.
Pour the caramel over the popcorn and mix slightly. Add the peanuts and mix well but gently (so you don't break apart the popcorn) until the popcorn is evenly coated and the peanuts are distributed through the mixture.
Turn the popcorn out onto the baking sheets, spreading into an even layer. Bake the popcorn for one hour, stirring and tossing every 20 minutes. Move the bottom tray to the upper rack and vice versa each time you stir. The popcorn will deepen in color and harden a bit as the caramel bakes and sets. Cool the popcorn to room temperature. Store in an airtight container. I've found the popcorn will keep, stored tightly, for 1-2 weeks.
Pop up that popcorn! It helps if you have a few little helpers excited to watch the popcorn "dance."
Sift through the popcorn to get all the unpopped kernels out (unless you like to get dental work done!) and put the popped corn in a large bowl.
In a saucepan, melt the butter.
Add the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.
As it heats slowly, the sugar will dissolve and the mixture will appear smooth.
Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for three minutes.
This is how the mixture should look right when it is removed from the heat after it has simmered for three minutes.
As you add the soda and vanilla, the mixture will foam a bit so be careful. I don't want anyone suing me for hot bubble injuries. No offense.
Pour the caramel over the corn and with two wooden spoons or the like, start mixing. Add the peanuts after mixing for just a bit.
Mix until the popcorn is well coated.
Spread onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake and try to let cool before devouring!