Mom’s Caramel Corn with Pecans

Christmas, Originals, Party Food / Sunday, December 21st, 2008


I can’t wrap.

Either I’m an inch short on paper, or the ends won’t fold up to make that nice little triangle. My gift bags look like they were stuffed by Mrs. Kelley’s third-grade class. And every year, no matter how much paper I buy, I wind up with one gift that has to be wrapped in a garbage bag. (Note to self: Invent festive, peppermint-scented garbage bags.)

But I love the process.

Jeff and I drag all the wrapping supplies into living room, turn on a movie (Christmas or otherwise), make some snacks and start the extravaganza.

My new favorite wrapping snack is Mom’s Caramel Corn with Nuts. It’s also my favorite movie snack. My favorite post-breakfast snack. And one of my favorite party foods. You can make enough for every man, woman and child in the Target parking lot without breaking the bank, and it’s so sweet-and-salty, yummy, crunchy good.

It’s also dead simple.

Fill a huge aluminum roasting pan with freshly popped popcorn and nuts. Make the caramel. Pour it over the popcorn and nuts. Then bake it for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. The popcorn will keep in an airtight container for about a week, so it would make a great gift.

Just don’t ask me how to wrap it.

Mom’s Caramel Corn with Pecans

Rebecca Crump (

Makes about 24 cups

  • 6 quarts popcorn, freshly popped (That’s about 24 cups of popcorn. You can air-pop it or use 2 (3.5 ounce) bags of plain microwave popcorn.)
  • 2-3 cups pecans
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups (packed) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Karo syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Mix warm popcorn and nuts in a large aluminum roasting pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, Karo and salt. Whisk until sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase heat to high and boil without stirring for about 5 minutes (or until a candy thermometer registers 255 degrees F).
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla.
  5. Pour syrup over popcorn and nuts. Combine with rubber spatula.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

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20 thoughts on “Mom’s Caramel Corn with Pecans

  1. Wow! That looks yummy!!!!

    I’m not the best wrapper, either! I’m notorious for cutting an extra piece and taping it over the blank spot on the package because I didn’t cut a piece large enough in the first place! :)

  2. My packages always look like I lack thumbs – I can relate to your wrapping issues.

    I’m also a maker of caramel corn – in fact, the recipe I use is pretty much exactly the same as your mom’s. Looks like we have a few things in common!

  3. I made this same recipe with Chex cereal and it was awesome. Too good, in fact. Since we can’t do nuts, we also tried it with popcorn and had more awesome results. Great choice –

  4. That’s crazy! My mother makes a similar thing that she calls Popcorn Crunch and swears no one else knows about it. Ha. It IS a favorite and loved by all. And highly addictive.

  5. Dear lord – popcorn, nuts, and caramel. A personal triple-whammy. I think I’ll use macadamias, and I’ll waddle up to the kitchen right now to get started. If I can get through the door!

  6. I made this last night as part of my plates of Christmas treats for family – and it’s freakin’ ridiculously good. I can’t stop eating it! Who knows if there’s going to be any left by the time I package everything up. Lol. Thanks!

  7. Caramel Corn with Nuts - Gift of the Day ( | Secret Recipes | Ethnic Food, Vegan, Vegatarian, Secret Recipes, Eating Right, Fast Food Kills!

    […] Today’s featured edible gift (although you might want to keep at least one batch for yourself) is from Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake. It’s her mom’s recipe and looks to be simple and addictively tasty. It’s just freshly popped corn, a couple of cups of nuts (your choice – Rebecca used pecans, but I bet it would be delicious with almonds or peanuts) and a homemade caramel syrup. You mix the popcorn and nuts with the caramel sauce and bake in a low oven for an hour. Get the exact recipe over at Ezra Pound Cake. […]

  8. I hate wrapping too. I wish I had read the “stir every 15 minutes” line when I made caramel popcorn for Halloween. Mine turned out umm… chewy? Oh well. I’ll try it again I guess.

  9. Yum! That looks great. I’m drooling over your photos!
    I’ve been meaning to make caramel corn but hadn’t gotten around to it! Thanks for sharing your Mom’s recipe!

    Happy 2009!

  10. HA! Im a crazy OCD wrapper….I love wrapping gifts! However…my caramel corn…could use major work! This looks yummy…wish I had seen this before I made my caramel corn attempt…mine turned out mushy. We didnt use a recipe…we just…winged it. We added chocolate and marshmallow to ours …so I will have to figure out how to incorporate that without the mush!

  11. Perfect recipe for this coming new year. I also like the idea to add dried fruits and macadamias. It will be great snack for new year eve.

  12. Never made caramel corn before. This was so easy and it is delicious! The danger is that now I'll want to make it all the time!!

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