Great as a gift when put into a pretty jar and tied with a ribbon.
You will need:
3 quarts of popped popcorn
1/4 C light corn syrup
1 stick butter ( 1/2 pound)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 C firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 C peanuts
Pop the popcorn and put it into a large roasting pan or some other pan that is large, rather shallow and oven proof. (This makes it easier to coat the popcorn with the caramel later) Combine the corn syrup, butter, salt and brown sugar in a 2 or 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Let the mixture boil until it reaches the hard ball stage. ( About 5 minutes) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the baking soda immediately. Then immediately pour this over the popcorn that you have in the roasting pan. Sprinkle the peanuts on top and then immediately stir gently until all the kernals are coated. Put the roasting pan in the oven and back at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring it 3 or 4 times during the baking. Allow to cool completely although this is the hardest part of the recipe because it takes so great warm.
Keep it stored in a tightly covered container if any is left.
HARD BALL STAGE occurs between 250-265 degrees if you have a candy thermometer. If not, this stage can be determined by dropping a large drop of cooking syrup into a bowl of cold water. In the water, you can use your fingers to push the syrup into a ball. If it is at the hard ball stage, the syrup will hold its ball shape and deform only slightly with very firm pressure.