Incredibly Addictive Caramel Corn with Peanuts

  • 6-7 quarts popped popcorn (about 1 cup unpopped kernels)
  • 2 cups dry roasted peanuts (you can leave these out, but they're so good, I don't recommend it)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (about 6 oz.)
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Large grocery-type paper bag
   
      Preheat the oven to 250˚ F (120˚ C).
  1. Place the popped popcorn into a large grocery-store type paper bag, toss in the peanuts and set aside. 
  2. Line two large, shallow baking sheets with aluminum foil.
  3. Combine the brown sugars (you can also use 2 cups dark brown sugar OR 2 cups light brown sugar if that's all you have on hand...it will still taste great), corn syrup, butter (you can substitute margarine) and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will turn light and foamy. Immediately pour the mixture onto the popcorn/peanut mixture in the bag, stirring with a long spoon to help distribute the molten sugar mixture. It's essential that you're very careful not to get any on your hands...it's like napalm at this point...so be careful! Then fold the top of the bag closed and shake vigorously for a minute or two to evenly coat the popcorn. 
  5. Once the popcorn is evenly coated, cut the bag to make it easier to remove the popcorn. Then spoon the popcorn evenly onto the two baking sheets and place them in the 250˚ oven.
  6. Bake for 1 hour. Every 15 minutes, take the pans out, stir the popcorn and place them back in the oven. 
  7. After 1 hour, remove the pans. Allow the popcorn to cool completely. To speed that process up, you can slide the tin foil, with the popcorn still on it, off the pans onto a heatproof counter top and it will cool faster..
  8. After it's cooled, just break it up, and it's ready to eat.
  9. Like the name says, it's incredibly addictive, but if by some astonishing act of restraint and self control there is some left at the end of the evening, you can store for 2-3 weeks in airtight containers or resealable ziploc bags.
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