Candied Party Popcorn
by Shauna of Piece of Cake
it’s perfect for party munching. I also like to make multiple colors of popcorn and toss them together or layer the colors in big glass jars with little serving scoops and small bags nearby so people can help themselves – it’s the perfect edible display piece.
- 12 cups popcorn, popped (from about 1/2 cup un-popped kernels)
- Kosher salt
- 1½ cups sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Food coloring
You can make your popcorn all one color or mix it up by making multiple colors of popcorn out of one batch. Just divide your popcorn onto two separate baking sheets and have a warm, clean saucepan waiting on the stovetop while you cook the syrup. After you’ve added the flavorings and salt to the syrup, pour half the clear syrup into the warm saucepan. Color the syrup in the original pan, then color the second portion before coating the separate batches of popcorn.
Have everything at the ready before you begin. Once the syrup is at the right temperature, working quickly is the key to getting the popcorn coated as evenly as possible.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or line with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Season the popcorn with salt and remove any un-popped kernels from the popcorn. Pour the popcorn onto the prepared baking sheet and keep it warm in the oven while you prepare the syrup.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water and stir gently to combine. Bring the syrup to a boil over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of a pan and boil the syrup, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 300 degrees.
When the syrup has reached 300 degrees, pull the pan from the heat and remove the thermometer. Stir in the vanilla, almond extract, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Stir in your food coloring of choice.
Remove the warm pan of popcorn from the oven and quickly pour the syrup over the popcorn in a thin, steady stream. Wearing heatproof gloves or using two wooden spoons, immediately stir and toss the popcorn to coat. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.
When the popcorn has cooled, break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.