i really wanted to make caramel popcorn for hallowe'en and my friend mike said his mother's recipe was the best. we called her and she gave us the recipe, assuring us it was "easy -- you just bring it to a boil, cook it to soft-ball, and pour it over the popcorn." i had a hunch that what might be easy for a woman who has been making candy for twenty years might prove impossible for a beginner like me.
four batches of soggy popcorn later, i'm stymied. i think what happened was that i didn't cook the caramel long enough or at a high enough temperature. well, here are the ingredients and a short narrative of what happened:
1/2 c. butter
1 lb. brown sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla
i brought it to a boil at med/high heat, without stirring, then reduced the heat and boiled it, but the soft ball never formed. mike's mom said it should cook only for about five minutes, so after ten minutes and no balls, soft or otherwise, i dumped the stuff on the popcorn. it was soggy and clumpy, and there were milk solids at the bottom of the pan. the caramel never hardened up and was decidedly unsmooth. it soaked into the popcorn. drat!
anyone know what i did wrong?