If you actually clicked on this, I'm impressed. Most recipes seem to boast that they are the "world's best" or "famous" or "most amazing" yaddah yaddah yaddah. Well, if you are looking for a prize winning recipe, this is not it. If you are, however, looking for something super simple, really fast, and that requires the most basic of ingredients then you have hit the jackpot!
Sitting on the couch with my husband tonight I was hit with one of the worst sweet tooth cravings ever. We have no sweets in the house. Not even stocking candy from Christmas (please tell me that it doesn't make it until New Year's in your house either). He offered to go to the store and buy me something chocolate but I'm reallllly trying to avoid chocolate because my doctor says I should avoid chocolate. (Brilliant how I come up with these deductions). I was struck by a childhood memory out of the blue of that amazing homemade caramel corn that my mom used to make on the stove top.
Mind you, I have asked my mom for this recipe a half a dozen or so times and she doesn't remember it. So I began my search on Pinterest. I found loads of caramel corn recipes - they all called for baking the stuff in the oven for an hour and stirring the mixture every 10 minutes while it is in said oven. I had two problems with this - 1) the part where I have to wait over an hour to satisfy this raging sweet tooth (I am not fond of the whole delayed gratification movement) and 2) the part where I actually have to get my lazy bum off of the couch every 10 minutes to stir the stuff. I am watching Criminal Minds reruns for Pete's sake. Actually, I guess I had three problems with it now that I think about it, the third being that the more times I have to get into the oven to mix it, the more I greatly increase my odds of burning myself on the oven, something I do with startling regularity.
Then came brilliant idea #437. I Googled "no bake caramel corn recipes". The first one I read seemed simple enough, but at the end the author stated that the texture wasn't right so she popped it in the oven for an hour, stirring every 10 minutes and then it came out just perfect. Ummm... what part of that is "no bake"?
Finally, I did find a recipe that sounded too simple to be true and drug my begrudging husband into the kitchen behind me to make the process faster. I needed to get back to Garcia, Prentiss and the rest of my friends after all.
We made one mistake with this concoction and that was not making enough popcorn quickly enough before making the caramel mixture. So we ended up having a little too much sweet for the amount of popcorn we made. However it turned out great! This recipe is super fast and delicious. We will most likely make it again, with the caveat that I WILL be pursuing the classic recipe from my childhood (which, by the way, I HAVE found my mom's old recipe for. It also requires the whole baking/stirring ridiculousness. But I am going to have to try this to see if it is as amazing as I remember).
And here is the recipe for Nikki's Super Simple Sub-par Caramel Corn:
Popped popcorn (We had about 5 cups worth, but you can adjust to taste)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
That's it! That's all of the ingredients. You simply stir the butter, sugar, and salt together in a saucepan over low to medium heat until it is melted smooth and then pour over the popcorn. Mix up very well and let sit for a few minutes before enjoying. We had some while it was warm which was delicious but when it sat for 15 or 20 minutes the stickiness settled and it was much easier to eat.
Enjoy your not-perfect-but-still-pretty-damn-good caramel corn!
P.S. I forgot to take a picture until it was mostly gone. Not stirred well because we didn't make the popcorn first and had to add more after it was set... But here ya go ;)