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caramel popcorn

Grandma Maude's Famous Christmas "Poppycock" or Caramel Popcorn

Grandma Maude's "Poppycock" or "Popcorn Cakes" are an integral Christmas family tradition: the best Caramel Popcorn recipe you will find on the planet! Friends and family look forward to their Christmas “Poppycock” gifts. She used to butter an angel food cake pan generously, and pour hot coated corn directly into the pan (pressing gently to push out holes). Then she would wrap these "cakes” and gift them. Each batch makes one angel food cake pan full. This is usually a production at our house. We never make less that 4-5 at once.
Course Treat
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 1 batch
Author Valerie Lugonja


Ingredients for Caramel Corn:

  • ½ cup corn or 11 cups popped corn
  • 1 cup of salted mixed nuts , toasted
  • ½ cup red and green jujubes (if using Santa faces, cut each into four)
  • Butter for buttering pans , bowls and hands
  • Parchment paper

Ingredients for Caramel Sauce:

  • Place the following in a heavy sauce pan:
  • 1 1/3 cup golden brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup golden corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Prepare in Advance, per batch

  1. Pop 11 cups of popcorn ( ½ cup of kernels popped in oil makes about 11 cups of popped corn)
  2. cup of salted mixed nuts, toasted
  3. ½ cup of red and green jujubes (if using Santa faces, cut each into four)
  4. a buttered mixing bowl (place popped corn into this bowl and sprinkle pre-cut jujubes over top of corn)
  5. a cookie sheet, buttered well, or layered with parchment paper
  6. candy thermometer (2, if making a few batches)
  7. wooden spoon
  8. Place ½ teaspoon soda and 1 teaspoon vanilla beside bowl with corn and jujubes for immediate addition to sauce once removed from heat

Instructions for Caramel Sauce:

  1. Place first 4 ingredients into heavy pan, insert candy thermometer, and bring to a boil on medium heat to 250 degrees, just before hard ball stage, or right at it
  2. While watching the thermometer, place cup of toasted nuts nearby, empty 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda into nuts; move vanilla beside nuts to be ready to add immediately into caramel once temperature is achieved
  3. Watch thermometer; once temperature is achieved, double tempo: immediately remove from heat…
  4. *Watch carefully: it takes quite a while to approach this temp, then is suddenly there (if higher temp is achieved, a very brittle product results)

Instructions for the Caramel Corn:

  1. Immediately remove caramel from heat; add soda, vanilla, nuts and stir very quickly to combine

  2. Pour sauce over popcorn and jujubes; using wooden spoon, stir rigorously and gently to coat all kernels

  3. Lay well coated kernels onto parchment covered (or well buttered) cookie sheet, and flatten gently
  4. Cool; break into smaller pieces and pack in airtight container

Recipe Notes

Freezes Well

especially if in a mold; mold in well buttered angel food cake pan, unmold and wrap well in plastic wrap, then freeze

Molds Well

If molding: butter mold generously, pour hot coated corn into mold, press gently to push out bigger holes, cool, and wrap (to eat, heat on low in microwave to pull apart)

For Gift Giving

Pack into generous cellophane gift bags; 1 batch is equivalent to 12 popcorn balls, thus easily gifts 2 generously