Sweet and salty is a dangerous flavor combination. Think chocolate-covered pretzels, kettle corn, salted caramels, trail mix, etc. Added to that list is the Chicago popcorn mix. It’s a simple but irresistible duo of caramel popcorn and cheese popcorn, created by and made famous by Garrett Popcorn Shops in Chicago. They seem to know what they’re doing, because the line to get a bag of fresh popcorn is always dozens deep.
Feel free to use your favorite caramel popcorn recipe. The one listed below is one I found on allrecipes.com.
I took a tip from Spoon Fork Bacon and bought cheesy popcorn from the grocery store. It is perfect for this popcorn mix, in all its artificially-flavored goodness.
Money-saving tip: Pop your own popcorn kernels instead of using microwave popcorn.
Chicago Popcorn Mix Recipe
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serve this salty/sweet treat for Halloween or set it out on the snack table at your next party.
7 quarts plain popped popcorn
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 bag of cheddar cheese popcorn
Preheat oven to 250F. Place popcorn in a large roasting pan or other large container. Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it begins to boil, stirring frequently. Continue to boil for five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add baking powder and vanilla. This will cause the mixture to foam slightly. Immediately pour over popcorn and mix to evenly coat. Place prepared popcorn on two large baking sheets.
Bake for one hour, removing pans every 15 minutes to stir popcorn. Remove popcorn from oven and pour onto parchment paper. Separate popcorn so it doesn't clump together, and allow to cool. Combine caramel corn with cheese corn and serve.