First I want to share my recipe for our Secret Birmingham Family Caramel Corn.
This is something we being making right after Thanksgiving and it simply is NOT the Christmas season unless we make half a dozen big batches of this delicious confection.
Famous Birmingham Family Caramel Corn Recipe:
- 7 quarts plain popped popcorn (if you want lightly candied corn, use 5 quarts if you want more caramel on your popcorn pieces).
- 2 cups toasted pecans, broken into large pieces
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dark corn syrup if you like a browner caramel corn, use light if you like a lighter caramel corn. Both are equally delicious.
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract (don't use the artificial stuff, it's not good enough)
- Put the popcorn and pecans into a large baking pan. I use my huge turkey roaster. You can spray it with PAM or rub it with oil ahead of time. Place this in the oven at 250F to keep the popcorn warm while you make the caramel.
- In a large saucepan place the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring this mixture to a boil and allow to boil without stirring for a full 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and get ready to add the vanilla and baking soda. The caramel will foam up quickly, so be prepared to stir this in, it will foam up and lighten in color. Immediately pour this over the warmed popcorn and pecans in the roasting pan and stir to coat all the popcorn.
- Now, you will bake the caramel covered popcorn for 1 hour in the oven, stirring every 15 minutes. As it bakes, the candy will firm and create a delicious caramel coating.
- At the end of the baking time, pour onto foil covered counter, breaking the caramel corn apart as it cools.
- Once completely cook, place the corn into cellophane treat bags and close with a twist-tie. Place in a basket at the front door to give to your December visitors!
I also want to direct your attention to The Ladybug Letter where they detail all information about growing different types of corn and prevent cross-pollination. This is certainly a problem if you're growing both sweet corn and popcorn! Learn of the two ways you can prevent cross-pollination of different varieties of corn: geographically and chronologically.
Here are a couple of old recipes from The Old Foodie on how to make popcorn balls. Scroll down just a bit, but you'll find these two recipes:
Boil honey, maple, or other sugar to the great thread; pop corn and stick the corn together in balls with the candy.
[Housekeeper's Encyclopedia of useful information … E.F. Haskell, 1861]
One cup of molasses, one cup of brown sugar, one tablespoon of vinegar, butter size of an egg. Boil all ingredients until brittle. Pour this over two quarts of popcorn and mold into balls.
[The Neighborhood Cook Book … Council Of Jewish Women. 1914]