Preheat your oven to 200°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet (18" x 13") with parchment paper. Pour the popped corn into a large bowl (at least 6 quarts); remove any unpopped kernels. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat cook the molasses, brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Stirring occasionally, boil the syrup for 5 minutes. The syrup will darken slightly.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda. Stir well as the mixture turns foamy.
Immediately (and carefully) pour the hot syrup over the popped corn and stir until the corn is well coated.
Spread the hot caramel corn into the parchment-lined pan. Bake at 200°F for one hour. Stir the corn every 15 minutes during this time.
Remove from the oven. This caramel corn is a warm, sticky, sweet and crunchy treat straight from the oven. It can also be cooled and stored airtight for several days. This recipe doubles and triples very well.
Tips from our Bakers
- Want to add a bit of saltiness to your sweet caramel corn? Add 1 cup of roasted, salted peanuts to the bowl of popped corn before pouring on the syrup. Homemade Cracker Jack®!
- To make popcorn balls on a stick, omit the baking soda from the recipe. As soon as you can handle the corn without burning yourself, form it into 1-cup balls, inserting a lollipop stick or skewer at one end of each.
- Be sure to assiduously remove any unpopped kernels; you'll get most of them by shaking the bowl of popped corn, and scooping out the hard kernels that sift to the bottom. If you don't remove them, the syrup will allow them to adhere to popped kernels, and the next thing you know — ouch! A dental bill.