Caramel Corn at Summer Camp

caramel corn


Summer camp has been going on for several weeks now.  It is a Monday through Friday camp for elementary school aged children.  For one and a half hours, 12 to 14 children gather in a group to learn about food and cook it!

This is the third year I have been teaching this summer camp and I continue to be amazed at all the kids can do.  AND, how much of an influence the Food Network has had on this generation of kids! No matter their abilities and experience, they are eager and willing to cook whatever I have planned for that week. AND they wash the dishes too, because the kitchen must be left clean when they are done.

This caramel corn is from our Friday unit “Snacks for Friends.”  I wanted them to learn how to make some interesting snacks for visiting friends. This recipe is super simple and really good. The kids made it and, of course, ate it up.  Because that’s my mantra, you cook it and you can eat it!

Lazy Caramel Corn

(adapted from

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Paper Bag Popcorn Method for popping popcorn:

Step One: Measure 1/4 cup popcorn kernels into each lunchbox-sized bag

Step Two: Loosely fold just the very top of the bag over so the kernels don’t spill out.

Step Three: Microwave until there are more than 3 seconds between popping sounds. …

Step Four: Carefully remove bag and enjoy!


Pop bags of popcorn and dump into a bowl. Use a bowl, so that the un-popped kernels will fall to the bottom of the bowl and not make their way into the caramel! (Ouch!)

In a large stockpot heat brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally to get the butter incorporated.

start a timer for five minutes and do not stir any more (resist the urge to stir!!).

While the caramel is bubbling, put out on the counter sheets of wax paper.

Once the timer goes off, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda.  This will make the mixture turn foamy, so don’t freak out.

Add the popcorn in by handfuls (do not dump the bowl of popcorn in, remember the unpopped kernels!).  Fold the popcorn into the caramel, careful not to burn yourself with the hot caramel!

Turn the popcorn out onto the sheets of wax paper and use your spoon to break it up. Once it is cooled to the touch, break up with your hands to make bite sized pieces.

Allow to cool completely and then store in an airtight container.





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