Makes about 10 cups (of high class popcorn)
1 cup popping corn
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 pound bittersweet, milk, or white chocolate, tempered
Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Pop the corn by your usual method, but use no oil and add no salt. Set aside.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan large enough to hold the popped corn. Clip a thermometer to the side of the pan, place the pan over medium-high heat, and heat, without stirring, until the mixture registers at 311ºF.
Stir in the baking soda, taking care, as it will cause the mixture to bubble up. Then quickly add the popcorn and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon to coat the corn evenly with the caramel. Scrape the caramel corn onto the prepared baking pan, pushing it out evenly over the bottom of the pan to avoid clumping. Let cool completely. Once cool, break up any clumps with your hands.
Transfer the caramel corn to a large bowl. Gradually ladle the chocolate over the caramel corn while stirring with a wooden spoon to coat evenly. Continue stirring until all of the corn is nicely covered. Let cool completely.
Serve immediately, or store, tightly covered, in a cool spot for a day or two.
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*Photographed by Alli Shepherd