We received a hot air popcorn maker for Christmas (from my lovely sister-in-law) and I’ve been so excited to try out new popcorn recipes. She also gave us an awesome book that has a ton of great ideas, but I had this recipe saved on Pinterest for a while. It’s amazing! The popcorn becomes chewy, not crunchy and it’s addicting!
This is the real deal caramel – using a candy thermometer (good thing I asked for one for Christmas!). And it is very hot when you pour over the popcorn, so be careful. After stirring, I poured it all out on a baking sheet covered with wax paper to help it cool.
My children were sneaking pieces left and right as it cooled. It’s amazing! I love the sweet and salty combination! You can use a fine sea salt or a coarse Kosher salt (what I used).
Pop the kernels into a very large mixing bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once it reaches a boil, add sweetened condensed milk, then return to a boil and cook, stirring constantly until it reaches 236 - 238 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Drizzle half of the caramel over the popcorn and stir to coat. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt over the popcorn and add the rest of the caramel. Stir again until everything is evenly coated. Allow to cool, then store in airtight containers.