I took this to the NCClay Club meeting recently. My fellow clay makers referred to it as "Crack Corn." It's a great holiday party snack because it's very low fat, relatively low in calories, and likely to be the tastiest thing on the potluck table.
So here is my recipe. Be sure to follow the clean up instructions! That will save you scraping hard caramel from your pots!
1 C packed dark brown sugar
1/2 C Karo syrup
1/3 C butter
1 T molasses
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
12 cups popped popcorn, no salt or seasonings (3 microwave bags)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray
line counter with 3 very large bowls or soup stock pans. Divide popped popcorn evenly among the containers, making sure that all unpopped kernels are removed.
Combine sugar, Karo syrup, butter, and molasses in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil, then cook 5 min, stirring once. Remove from heat. Immediately add vanilla, baking soda, and salt, beating rapidly until a uniform caramel color.
Work quickly. Pour over popcorn, stirring with large spoon or silicon spatula. Get as much coated as possible, but don't stress as the coating can be further distributed when baking.
Lay out popcorn on the 2 baking sheets. Place uncoated kernels on top of coated ones.
Bake 1 hour, turning and stirring every 15 min. When you turn, press bare popcorn pieces into the caramel.
Remove and cool. Break up large chunks.
Store in airtight containers up to 1 week (if it lasts that long!)
To clean pots, bowls, baking sheets, and spoons, run under very hot water. The hard caramel will soften and can be easily wiped off.