Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts

 

1 cup popcorn kernels (20 cups popped)

3-4 tablespoons canola oil

1 stick unsalted butter

½ cup corn syrup

2 tablespoons molasses

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups unsalted, roasted peanuts

14 oz sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray cooking spray onto two 12”x18” sheet pans (with sides) and set aside

The popcorn:

  1. In a large soup pot, over a medium-high heat, add enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add three kernels of popcorn, and cover
  2. When they pop, add the remaining popcorn, and shake the pan to mix the kernels with the oil. Shake the pan occasionally while the corn is popping, until the pops are a few seconds apart
  3. Place the popcorn in a large bowl and set aside

The Caramel:

  1. In a 5 quart heavy duty saucepan, over a medium-high heat, add the butter, corn syrup, molasses, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly
  2. Once it boils, continue to boil for 4 minutes, without stirring. This will bring the mixture to the hard ball stage, 260°
  3. Remove from the heat, and mix in the peanuts. Add condensed milk, vanilla, and salt
  4. Over a low heat, cook for an additional 2 minutes. Pour the caramel and peanut mixture over the popcorn and thoroughly combine. Don’t use your hands, as the caramel will still be very hot
  5. Spread the popcorn mixture onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 minutes, but stir at 7 minutes, halfway through
  6. Let it cool to room temperature before serving

NOTE: If you don’t have a convection oven, and the two trays do not fit on the same oven rack, then swap them when you stir the mixture at 7 minutes, so the pan on the bottom won’t burn