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My new favorite caramel corn is from Popcornopolis. Its caramel coating is lighter in color and flavor than the dark molasses-heavy caramel coating on old-school caramel corn, like Cracker Jack. The flavor is butterier, like butter toffee, with just a hint of molasses arriving at the back door.
To assemble this hack I worked with several versions of butter toffee candy, adding light brown sugar to bring in the molasses. After several attempts, I found the right combination of ingredients and perfect cooking temperature that best duplicated the flavor, color, and texture of the real thing.
You'll want a candy thermometer for this recipe for the best results, but if you don't have one you can estimate when the candy is done by using the time cue in the steps.
The vanilla is added at the end so we don't cook out the flavor. You'll also add a little baking soda at the end which will react with the acid in the molasses, creating tiny air bubbles so the candy has a more tender bite when cool.