Caramel Corn with Chocolate

I have been making caramel corn for years, but just recently I decided to add a little bit of chocolate.  This recipe makes a wonderfully chewy caramel corn with just a hint of chocolate drizzled over the top.  

If you are not in the mood for chocolate, then follow the full recipe and bake it in the oven until the caramel corn becomes crunchy.  It packs easily for picnics and is a perfect snack for parties.

RECIPE #16 (from 10 Pounds of Chocolate Chips)  

Chewy Chocolate Caramel Corn

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
popped popcorn (about 6 quarts)
1 cup chocolate chips, melted
2 very large bowls

In a pot melt the butter.  Add sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Boil gently for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add soda and vanilla.  Stir.

Pour the hot caramel over the popped popcorn.  Stir well.  If you are making caramel corn with chocolate, then spoon the caramel corn onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Drizzle melted chocolate chips over the top.  Place in the refrigerator to set the chocolate.

Crunchy Caramel Corn (without chocolate)

Follow the recipe as indicated above.  If desired you can add peanuts or other nuts to the caramel corn after stirring in the hot caramel.  Spoon the caramel corn onto parchment lined cookie sheets or baking pans.  Place in a 250 degree oven.  Bake the caramel corn for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.  

A Note About Popcorn

For this recipe I like to pop the popcorn using a hot air popcorn popper (i.e. no added oil).  I usually use white popcorn, but yellow is also good.  Once the popcorn has popped into your bowl and cooled, then use your hands and loosely scoop out handfuls of popcorn and place it in another large bowl.  This will allow the uncooked kernels to fall to the bottom of the first bowl and not end up in the bowl with the caramel.  Yes, this is an additional step and it requires a little bit more time, but it is well worth it.  No one wants to bite into an uncooked kernel of popcorn.