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.