Maple caramel corn is infinitely better than the store-bought caramel corn or Cracker Jack and has a list of completely recognizable ingredients. No prize. Although really, the recipe is the prize.
Maple Caramel Corn
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 1 H
- Makes 8 to 10 cups
Preheat the oven to 250°F (121°C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the popcorn and peanuts.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
Stir in the maple syrup and salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture reaches 230°F (110°C) on a candy thermometer, anywhere from 3 to 7 minutes. The mixture should flow in a steady stream from the spoon.
Remove the caramel from the heat and very carefully stir in the vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will foam up.
Immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn and peanuts and quickly toss with a spatula until coated.
While the mixture is still hot, use the back of the spatula to spread it in the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until the popcorn is light and crisp, about 45 minutes.
Cool briefly before serving. The maple caramel corn will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This was a delicious take on caramel corn. The maple and salt really added an element that made the caramel corn feel really special. Dry roasted peanuts also gave it an elevated Cracker Jack feel in the best way.
I didn't have a candy thermometer, so I was hoping to drip the caramel off the spoon to identify when it was ready. The bubbling mixture changed to a thicker bubbling sound at 5 minutes and appeared to drip off the spoon, but the resulting caramel was a little grainy...leading me to believe that I didn't have the timing quite right. I would definitely recommend a thermometer for this recipe.
I used grade A maple syrup.
I kept the popcorn in a gallon resealable bag and it kept really well. It was actually better the second day.
So good! This maple caramel corn proves there's no reason to buy that junk from the mall! My testers all loved it and kept coming back for more. It was so light and crisp and had the perfect caramel to popcorn ratio. I love that this recipe is simple and doesn't use any corn syrup. I will definitely make this again!
I did use salted peanuts but 1/2 a cup wasn't enough. It got a bit lost in the popcorn so I added more to total 1 cup. It was a lovely addition!
I used a candy thermometer for my maple syrup and it took exactly 5 minutes after starting to boil to reach temperature, per the instructions.
The next day it was still light and crisp after being stored in a Tupperware.