I made these super cute red, white, and blue popcorn bags to sell at a local fundraising event.
This was my first time making candied popcorn. I had been collecting recipes for caramel corn and other candied popcorns, but the recipes made the process seem intimidating. They always referenced baking, stirring every 15 minutes, and then breaking into pieces manually. I thought it would be frustrating. It turns out, it is not. And this recipe only involves baking for a total of 20 minutes. It turns out the sticky syrup is actually very easy to stir into the popcorn, and while it is baking, it is rather wet and still easy to stir. It is wet when it comes out of the oven, and only hardens when it cools.
The color in this popcorn comes from Jello.
Here’s how I did it. First, I got disposable foil “lasagna” pans which you can get at the dollar store. They are roughly 9×13 and shallow. You can spray these with nonstick spray or just leave as-is. I tested it both ways. If you do not use the spray, then you will also need some parchment or wax paper for later.
For each color, I popped fresh corn starting with 1/2 cup unpopped kernels. After it popped, I sifted through with my hands to make sure only the biggest, fluffiest pops went into my bags.
For the candy coloring, put all of the following into a medium saucepan. 1/2 cup butter (I used unsalted), 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon light-color corn syrup, 3 tablespoons water, 3oz. dry Jello (the regular kind, not sugar free). At my store there’s not a lot of Jello colors/flavors in the 3 oz. box. So I got 6 oz. boxes and just measured out roughly half. Stir it all in the pan and bring to a boil. Boil and stir constantly for 3 minutes. Then gently pour it over the popcorn and stir the popcorn until its all the same color.
Pour the wet colored popcorn into the 2 foil pans. Bake in a preheated 250-degree oven for 20 minutes. Stir every 7 minutes. Like I said, it is easy to stir.
Take it out and let it cool. It will harden as it cools. The batch that I did with nonstick spray in the pan, I had no problem getting it out of the pan. The batch I did where I forgot to spray the pan, well, as it cooled it stuck tight to the foil pan. So then I did another batch without nonstick spray, but as soon as it came out of the oven I dumped it out onto parchment paper to cool.
The blue color that you see in the picture is Berry Blue Jello, but I added a whole lot of dark blue food coloring because I wanted more of a navy blue, and Berry Blue is turquoise.
The red color you see in the picture is Raspberry Jello.
I let the popcorn cool about 20 minutes before I assembled my bags. They are just treat bags I got at the craft store.
(Image credit: my own)
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