For the caramel corn:
- 6 quarts popped popcorn (from about 1/2 cup kernels), divided
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the cheese corn:
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup cheddar cheese powder
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 2 large paper grocery bags
- Pop 6 quarts of popcorn according to the instructions on the package. Discard any unpopped kernels. Divide the remaining popcorn evenly among 2 clean paper grocery bags.
- Cover two baking sheets with wax paper. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly until boiling, about 8 minutes. Stir in the baking soda and allow the mixture to foam. Pour the caramel over the popcorn in the first bag, fold over the top, and shake well to coat. Pour the popcorn onto one of the prepared baking sheets, and break up any clumps as needed. Allow to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, mix the cheese powder and ground mustard. Set aside.
- Open the second bag of popcorn, and shake while carefully drizzling the melted butter over the popcorn. Shake the buttered popcorn while sprinkling the cheese-mustard mixture over the popcorn. Pour the cheese popcorn onto the second prepared baking sheet, and allow to cool completely.
- Mix the two batches of popcorn by hand. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
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