Caramel Corn

Being convinced that Germans don't eat anything else than Sauerkraut all day, Americans sometimes ask me what I would consider "all-American food." Well, anything peanut, that's for sure. ;-) And anything cranberry, too. Then there's your typical diner fare: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, you know the lot - yum! Plus pumpkin and key lime pies, carrot cakes, malt shakes, corndogs, salt-water taffy, and - of course - all types of popcorn: salted or unsalted, with or without butter, dusted with cheese powder, dipped in chocolate, or coated with crunchy caramel - hmmm...

My friend Stephen makes the best caramel corn in the world! I hastily jotted down his recipe during chorus rehearsal last week and since I don't have a microwave oven at home - can you even believe it?! - I've tried it at work. I LOVE THAT STUFF! I guess, I have to get my own microwave oven now... ;-)))


1 bag microwavable popcorn - use your favorite brand!
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tip: Use a 4-quart Pyrex bowl for cooking the caramel. A Tupperware or Rubbermaid bowl will melt. TRUST ME! Oh, and it'll smoke, too... ;-)))

Preparation (about 20 minutes):

1. Pop the corn following the directions on the bag. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, stir.

3. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minutes, stir.

4. Microwave on HIGH for 2 to 3 minutes (for light to dark caramel), stir.

5. Add baking soda and vanilla extract, stir. Add the popped corn to the mixture, discard any "old maids" (= unpopped kernels ;-) ). Stir from the bottom up, using a wooden spoon or spatula.

6. Microwave on MEDIUM-HIGH for 1 minute, Stir. Repeat once.

7. Spread caramel corn on waxed paper or non-stick cookie sheet, making sure all clusters are broken up. Let cool.

Left-overs - although I highly doubt there will be any - can be stored in an airtight container or zipper bag ... enjoy!