You don't have to buy the heavily processed toffee popcorn from the store -- the one that's full of ingredients you can't even pronounce. With just a few ingredients that you likely already have in the house, you can make a fresh batch of toffee popcorn that's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. By making your own sweet snack at home, you can alter the recipe a bit to make it crunchier, sweeter or even healthier.
Heat up a small amount of oil -- vegetable or canola oil work fine -- in a large pot on your stove. Leave the burner on a medium setting.
Sprinkle the popcorn kernels into the hot oil. Work slowly so the oil doesn't splash on you.
Stir the kernels gently. Make sure they're all coated with oil. Place the lid on the pot and turn the burner down to a low heat. Allow the popcorn to pop, shaking the pot over the hot eye until popping slows. Remove from heat.
Place butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup in a separate smaller sauce pot. Turn on the heat to a medium setting. Stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once the sugar dissolves, stir the mixture occasionally.
Check the toffee mixture regularly with a candy thermometer. If you want the toffee to remain soft, it should reach a temperature of 280 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes about 20 minutes to reach this point. If you want it to be crunchy, heat it up to 300 to 310 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper while the toffee is heating up. Spray a large mixing bowl with nonstick spray. Once the popcorn is popped, pour it into the bowl.
Drizzle the cooked toffee over the popcorn. Stir it quickly with a wooden spoon. If you have a lid for the bowl, snap on the lid and give the entire container a hearty shake. Spread out the entire batch on the baking sheet.
Let the toffee popcorn cool completely at room temperature before serving.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.