Various ways I know I got it right:

•    Jill goes back for seconds
•    My students pay attention
•    It smells the way my mom’s version does
•    Courtney says “oh yes MA’M!”
•    I have no trouble falling asleep
•    Someone asks “Did you put crack in this?”

caramel corn

I actually read a story some years ago about a restaurant in Japan; it had a cult following, lots of regulars, did fine business.  The thing was, no one could really articulate why the restaurant was so popular.  Was it their unique culinary offerings?  Homey atmosphere?  Friendly owners who knew your name & order as soon as you walked in the door?

Nah. It was liquid opium, trace amounts of which the kitchen laced into all of the food, as discovered by the Japanese health inspector.

There aren’t any illegal substances in this caramel corn but it’s so good you’d swear there were.  Make it for weekend munching, mail it to your favorite serviceman or woman, take it along to work as a sweet afternoon snack.  Be warned, though, if you should chose to share it, there won’t be any left for you.


What I especially like about this recipe is that the caramel isn’t fussy; no candy thermometer necessary here.  When the mixture starts to get dark, take it off the heat.  It’s really that simple!

8 cups plain popcorn*
1 cup mixed nuts (almonds, pecans, macadamias, peanuts, etc.)
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter
¼ cup clear Karo (corn) syrup
½ T vanilla
plan or sea salt

Combine popcorn & nuts in a large bowl (one that will clean easily).  Prepare two baking sheets by either greasing or lining with parchment.

Melt the butter, then add sugar and Karo syrup.  Stir regularly until the mixture comes to a boil.  Turn down the heat and watch the mixture, stirring occasionally until it takes on a caramel color (10-12 minutes).

Remove the caramel mixture from heat, then stir in the vanilla with a heat-proof spatula.  Pour the mixture into the bowl of popcorn & nuts, stirring vigorously until coated (much as you would when making Rice Krispie treats).

Spread the popcorn mixture onto the two baking sheets, then sprinkle generously with salt for a lovely flavor contrast.  Let  the corn harden before breaking into clumps.   Enjoy right away or store for up to a week in an airtight container.

*It’s not required to pop your own popcorn, but it’s so blazing easy, cheap, & delicious, shouldn’t you?



  1. Yummm mmy! I went to a halloween party and needed a desert and appetizer in a hurry – yes i was working on my costume and neglected the food. I opened up BJG and made the lemon bars and apricot brie cheese snacks. They were both a hit! Thanks Nishta!

    • bluejeangourmet

      hey Lois! thanks so much for letting me know that you tried & enjoyed the recipes–it’s so exciting to hear! and that costume *was* impressive.

  2. Welcome to tomorrow’s afternoon project!! I’m definitely going to need some motivation to go out and run 4.5 miles on Sunday — nothing like coming home to eat caramel corn that sounds this delicious!! 🙂

  3. This recipe looks incredible, Nishta. I cannot wait to make some. Hey, would you ever be interested in doing a compare/contrast study on making homemade toffee with me? I’m giving toffee as Christmas gifts this year (and maybe some lemon curd too), and I thought it would be cool to do a collab-candymaking project if you have the time (LOVE your blog, btw).


  4. I’m so in love with caramel corn and yours looks incredible! I made some for halloween this year 🙂

  5. Is Karo syrup just a brand name of corn syrup? We Canadians don’t get it.

  6. THIS STUFF IS AWESOME!!! I made the popcorn homemade, that was awesome. The caramel was a breeze to make and man the sweet and salty taste on the taste buds was tremendous!!! This is a great snack to make for the house or even for on the go…but, the only thing i have to say bad is there is never enough!!! Try it and you will like it!

    • bluejeangourmet

      Cheryl–sorry, yes, Karo syrup is just corn syrup. I’ll change that in the post. we Southerners consider Karo synonymous with corn syrup…use the light stuff for candy making, the dark stuff for pecan pie!

      Angi–thanks so much for the rave review! glad to hear the recipe turned out so well for you…it’s addictive, I warned you 🙂

  7. Pingback: FEELIN’ KINDA SNOW DAY: PECAN TASSIES « Blue Jean Gourmet

  8. Nishta, may I suggest you try adding a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda right as you take it off the heat? It will “fluff” up the caramel and make it easier to coat much more of the popcorn more evenly. You may also want to try mushroom popcorn as you’ll end up with wonderful pillowy balls of caramel corn and much less broken pieces.

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