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Best Popcorn for 4th of July

Keyword: popcorn, snacks
Servings: 24 cups of popcorn
Author: Beth Kingston

Ingredients

  • 24 cups popped popcorn
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half (can use whole milk or 2% but will not be as rich)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract (clear extract will help keep the mixture a little lighter)
  • gel food color in red and royal blue
  • 10 oz white chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Divide popcorn into two very large bowls for mixing in colored syrup.
  • In a large saucepan, combine sugar, half & half, corn syrup and salt.
  • Insert a candy thermometer into pan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
  • Bring mixture to a low boil, stirring frequently, until temperature reaches 230 degrees (soft ball stage). Be patient, this does take a while, at least 20 minutes. You can also check this by putting a small spoonful into a cup of very cold water. When ready it will form a soft ball when dropped in.
  • When mixture reaches 230 degrees, stir in vanilla and remove from heat.
  • Divide mixture between two heatproof bowls or measuring cups. Add red coloring into one bowl and blue into the other. I used ΒΌ tsp. of each color but you may decide to use more. The mix will be a bit brown before coloring but the food color does a wonderful job of overcoming that.
  • Stir each mixture well to incorporate the color into the syrup completely.
  • Working quickly, add one colored syrup to each bowl of popcorn, mixing well with a large spoon or your hands (mixture will be a bit hot at first, so you may want to start with a spoon, then move to using your hands if desired. Food gloves work well for this. If syrup sets up too much, place it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to remelt.
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  • Spread each color of popcorn onto a separate parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until crisp.
  • Remove from oven and cool on the cookie sheets.
  • Pour white chocolate into microwave safe measuring cup or bowl. Melt white chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between, until it is melted.
  • Using a fork or spoon, drizzle the white chocolate over both pans of popcorn. Allow to set up well before serving.