We are a fan of popcorn at this house. We always make it on the stove. One day a few years ago we ventured out of our regular and made a caramel sauce with it. After some trial and error we have found this to be the best recipe and process. It is such a comfort food. Good in any season. Here's how you rock it:
Microwave popcorn is too fragile in this recipe. Pull out a big pot and go the traditional popping route. We like to use coconut oil instead of butter or other oil choices. After you get the popcorn started get to work on the caramel. We like to have the popcorn and caramel finish around the same time at possible so we make the simultaneously.
For the Caramel melt in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan:
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons water
Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat until it reaches soft ball stage (you know it is at this stage when you can add a drop of the sugar to ice water and it turns into a ball instead of dissipating through the water -- check out this youtube video). Once you have reached this stage remove from heat and pour over the warm popcorn while stirring gently in large bowl.
The sugar is still of course hot at this point. We pour ours out onto our (clean) soapstone counter and as it cools use our hands to spread out and separate pieces. While it is spread out we generously sprinkle with sea salt.
The next step is the most important...
Eat the whole bowl.
I'm not kidding. This is my most favorite thing to overeat. I will gladly get sick from eating too much caramel corn.
( This recipe is adapted from The Joy of Cooking. )