Caramel Corn is a classic holiday treat! I grew up getting it from the famous Garrett’s Popcorn in downtown Chicago, where I grew up. My grandma would buy it for Christmas every year!
If you are from Chicago or the Midwest, you should also try my Mint Meltaways (a Fannie May copycat) and my Pink Peppermint Ice (also a Fannie May copycat!). Both of these are nostalgic Christmas treats, I’m sure you’ll love them!
How to make this Garrett’s Caramel Corn Copycat
First step is to pop the popcorn like normal. I pop the popcorn on the stovetop using coconut oil. You will heat the coconut oil in a large pot (with a lid!), and add in 3 kernels over medium heat. Wait until the kernels pop, because that’s when you know the heat is right.
Then, add in the rest of the kernels and let them pop! Swirl around the pot every few seconds to allow the popped corn to rise to the top and the kernels to sink to the bottom to continue to pop. Once the pops are slowed to 1 second per pop, remove from the heat. You’ll want to transfer the popcorn to a large bowl and let it cool.
The second step is to make the caramel. We are making a true caramel here, one where we dry burn the sugar to actually make the caramel flavor. Learn more about that in my Caramel Sauce post!
The sugar is melted, then the butter gets added, and then the heavy whipping cream. Caramel is all about ratios, different ratios of sugar, butter, and cream will create different types of caramel. So, making this caramel is really important for this recipe as you can’t just go out and buy caramel sauce, as that ratio won’t be the same.
Salt and baking soda are added to the caramel once it’s removed from the heat. I add some salt for flavor here and I add baking soda to create a soft texture on the finished popcorn. So that is super important here!
After the caramel is done, you pour it over the popcorn and stir to coat it completely. Then transfer it to the baking sheets. The caramel corn gets baked at 350°F for about 8 minutes, until it looks dry. It’s important to bake the caramel corn to dry out the caramel. As you know, caramel is known to be sticky! So, baking it is key for this recipe.
Ingredients I used to make this copycat recipe for Garrett’s Caramel Corn
Organic Corn Kernels
Why use organic ingredients in this recipe? You all know I’m a huge organic advocate, and I bet you may be thinking sometimes, Why would I even bother to use organic ingredients in something that is so sweet and indulgent? But, that is the exact reason why you should use organic ingredients! Sweet things need to have flavor in order to be good, otherwise they are just sweet and they don’t taste like much else. Organic ingredients are more pure than conventional ones, therefore they actually have more flavor than the non organic options. Say it with me, organic means more flavor! And not just more flavor but a more true and pure flavor. And organic ingredients are much healthier for you to eat in general as they do not contain GMOs or anything artificial. Plus, you are being environmentally friendly when you choose organic ingredients!
So, I highly recommend that you buy the best organic ingredients for this recipe! You can also shop my Amazon Storefront for all my favorite organic ingredients here. Tip – hover over each ingredient to see the name. And if you want to learn more about organic foods and the difference, read my post here on Food Labels and What They Mean.
Caramel CornDifficulty: Intermediate
Nothing is better during Christmas than homemade caramel corn. This stocking stuffer takes a little effort, but it's totally worth it!
142 grams (heaping 1/2 cup) organic corn kernels
28 grams (2 tablespoons) organic coconut oil
340 grams (1 1/2 cups) organic cane sugar
1/2 cup (113 grams) organic salted butter
1/4 cup organic heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- In a large pot add coconut oil and 3 corn kernels, cover with a lid and put over medium/high heat.
- Once one or all kernels have popped, remove popped kernels and add all remaining corn kernels and cover with a lid. Heat kernels for 1 minute. Intermittently, gently swirl around the kernels in the pot to coat them all in coconut oil.
- Once kernels start to pop, shake the pot frequently so popped kernels rise to the top. When popping slows to 1 second between pops, remove pot from heat and remove lid. Carefully pour popped corn into large bowl to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two bakings sheet with parchment paper.
- Once the popcorn is cool, in a pot over medium heat add the sugar. Once the sugar starts to melt, stir with a high heat spatula to keep from burning. Sugar clumps will form until the sugar turns into a liquid.
- Once the sugar has completely melted into a liquid, add the butter. Be careful because steam will rise up quickly. Stir rapidly until the mixture is combined.
- Once the butter is completely combined, add in the cream a little at a time. Be careful, because the cream is colder than the sugar mixture so more steam will rise up quickly. Stir rapidly to combine completely when each amount of cream is added.
- Once completely combined, remove from heat and add in the sea salt and stir. Last, add in the baking soda and stir to combine.
- Pour over the popcorn, and stir to coat it as evenly as possible. Then spread the popcorn evenly onto the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake at for 7 to 10 minutes or until it looks dry.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
- High Altitude – Follow the recipe as noted.
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