Recipe: The best caramel popcorn for Halloween from Rita Heikenfeld

Recipe: The best caramel popcorn for Halloween from Rita Heikenfeld

This is Rita's most requested recipe. The taste reminds us of the Cracker Jack popcorn we loved as kids.

The recipe uses mixed nuts (or try almonds or even macadamia nuts).  If you're making this for kids, use regular peanuts (salted or not). If kids have peanut allergies, leave nuts out.

If you're in a big hurry, buy the corn already popped.  Add some dried cranberries or cherries after the popcorn is cool – adds color and nutrition.

15-16 cups plain popped corn – this is about 2 bags of microwave popcorn

2-3 cups salted peanuts or  mixed nuts – I like salted

2 sticks real butter

2 cups light or dark brown sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon  vanilla

½ teaspoon baking soda

To avoid sticking, use vegetable spray to coat both inside of large bowl, cookie sheets and spoons that you will use.

Put popcorn and nuts in bowl.  Set aside.  Over medium heat, bring to a boil everything but the soda.

Boil 5 minutes. Add baking soda and stir.  Pour over popcorn mixture, stirring well to coat.  Pour onto 2 or 3 greased cookie sheets.

Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes to distribute coating.  Let cool for coating to harden.

Add cranberries and then store at room temperature, covered.