My brother seems to think he's the king of caramel popcorn and while that may be true, in his mind at least, I will arrogantly declare that I am the queen of Butter Toffee Popcorn. I had previously posted a recipe on this blog for caramel popcorn that, in retrospect, just wasn't up to par. Then I found this recipe for butter toffee popcorn on Cook's Country and that all changed. Thus began my self-proclaimed reign as popcorn sovereign. Long live the queen!
This recipe is fantastic. The only tweak I made was to substitute cashews for the peanuts. I wanted to add a little extra decadence but I think using any kind of nut will work just as well.
A note on the popcorn: I find I get the best results using fresh popped corn, not microwave popcorn. My favorite way to make homemade popcorn is with the Whirley-Pop. Just two ingredients, kernels and vegetable oil, and in less than 5 minutes you've got fluffy, crispy popcorn.
I'm thinking of making this popcorn to give as gifts during the holidays - what a more appropriate accompaniment to my popular cashew toffee.
Makes about 3 1/2 quarts
3 quarts popped popcorn
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups salted cashews
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Grease large roasting pan. Place popcorn in pan.
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in vanilla and baking soda (mixture will foam). Add cashews and pour mixture over popcorn, tossing to coat.
Bake, stirring occasionally, until popcorn is deep golden brown and caramel has set, 1 to 1½ hours. Cool to room temperature. Serve. (Popcorn can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for 5 days.)