To make an easy caramel popcorn recipe, create a syrup with corn syrup and sugar, pop some popcorn, coat the popcorn with the syrup, and bake the coated popcorn in the oven. This recipe serves 20 people, takes about 30 minutes to prepare and bakes for an hour in the oven.
First, preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Pop 5 quarts of popcorn, and set it aside. Add 1 cup of butter to a saucepan, and melt it over medium heat. Mix in 2 cups of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of corn syrup and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir the ingredients continuously as you bring them to a boil. When the ingredients begin boiling, stop stirring, and allow the syrup to cook for four minutes.
Remove the syrup from the stove, and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir the ingredients to combine, and then drizzle the syrup over the popcorn, tossing the popcorn to evenly coat it.
Transfer the popcorn to two large baking pans, and bake it for one hour. Every 15 minutes, stir the popcorn as it bakes. If you prefer chewier caramel, reduce the baking time. Allow the popcorn to cool completely, and then break it apart to serve.