Food & Drink

Baked caramel popcorn crunch

Baked caramel popcorn crunch

3 1/2 quarts popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup unpopped, or 2 to 3 microwave bags)

1/2 to 1 cup peanuts

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Makes about 15 cups.

Generously grease a 15-by-10-inch baking sheet. Place the popped popcorn and the peanuts in a large, well-buttered bowl and toss to distribute. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat just enough to keep the mixture at a light boil for 5 minutes; do not stir. Remove from heat; carefully stir in the vanilla and baking soda. Heat oven to 250 degrees.

Pour syrup evenly over the popcorn mixture and toss with a wooden spoon. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Remove from oven and, when popcorn is cool enough to handle, break into pieces.

Nutritional information per cup: 188 calories (43 percent from fat), 9 g fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g fiber, 167 mg sodium.

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