This wasn't a tradition at my family's house (actually I don't think I ever had it there), but I remember having it at friends' houses (I can't even remember whose anymore . . . I think I was in elementary or middle school) and I absolutely loved it. I couldn't get enough. And when I made it recently, it was just as good as I remembered.
I love using the puffcorn in place of popcorn just because it adds a different texture and flavor. Don't get me wrong, I love me some caramel corn too, and think this recipe would be smashing if you subbed regular popcorn, but the puffcorn is a nice touch. You can find it in the chip aisle of your grocery store, and I just get the butter flavored bag of it. I think the butter flavor is part of what makes this a tad different than regular caramel corn, so if I use this recipe with popcorn, I might use buttered popcorn . . . A little extra indulgence never hurt anyone, right?
I should note that the boys weren't as big of fans of this as plain popcorn, but I think that's because it's a little harder for them to eat - the pieces are bigger, and the caramel is tougher to bite through than plain popcorn. That being said, I'm sure they'll love it when they're a little older, and in the meantime I guess I'll just be packin' on the pounds devouring it by myself! :)
Caramel Puffcorn (original recipe can be found here)
1 pkg. puffcorn - I think it comes in 8 oz bags
1 c. butter
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1. Grease a roasting pan and preheat oven to 250 degrees. Pour puffcorn into greased pan.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda (this will cause your mixture to foam up, so don't panic!)
4. Pour caramel over puffcorn and stir thoroughly.
5. Bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to make sure it's evenly coated and doesn't burn.
6. Remove from oven and spread on waxed paper to cool. Break into pieces once it's cool and store in an airtight container.
*I stupidly made this when it was 100 degrees outside . . . I don't recommend that unless you have super AC in your house/apartment because it's hot.
Hugs and cookies,