Illinois - Caramel Corn
Illinois has an official state snack - popcorn!
In Illinois, popcorn is grown on 333 farms and it isn't just something you throw in the microwave at home to eat while you watch a movie. It's a serious snack worthy of stores dedicated to making and selling only popcorn!
In Chicago alone, there are 37 Popcorn Shops!!! The most famous is Garrett Popcorn Shops where people wait in line for hours just to get in the store to buy their Caramel Crisp popcorn!
Caramel Corn hasn't gained official state sweet status in Illinois, yet - but it seems like a great contender!
- 1 bag of plain, microwave popcorn or 10 cups air popped popcorn
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 250 F
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper
- Pop popcorn according to package directions and remove any un-popped kernels
- In saucepan, stir together brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and 2 Tbsp water
- Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook to 250 degrees on a candy thermometer
- Remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla extract
- Quickly pour hot caramel over popcorn and stir to coat
- Spread on baking sheet in one layer
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring and turning with spatula every 20 minutes
- Remove from oven, try to let cool for 10 minutes before digging in!
Consider yourself warned, this stuff is delicious and very addictive! What a great treat just in time for fall tailgating and football watching!