I have an Old-School Whirly-Pop, it's a hand-cranked popper that I use for roasting my own coffee (OMGgood) and for popped corn. You can still do this even if you use microwave popcorn.
1 or 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, OR Virgin Coconut Oil (it's different and TASTEY)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup corn kernels (or 1 bag of popped popcorn)
1 huge bowl to fluff and serve
Put the oil and corn in the whirly-pop and set a timer for 3 minutes. When the timer goes off, add the sugar and salt and keep stirring it until everything has popped. Turn the popcorn out into a large bowl and toss or fluff (to cool it and to help distribute the sugar).
Pop the corn and set it aside.
In a large pot, put in all the oil, salt, and sugar, and turn the heat up to high. Stir constantly. You are going to caramelize the sugar and then add the popcorn and stir it:
1. First stage -- the sugar will start melting.
2. Second stage -- the sugar will start bubbling but still look granular.
3. Third stage -- as you stir you will begin to notice a smooth brown carmel-colored liquid following your wooden spoon as you stir. IMMEDIATELY add the popcorn, turn off the heat, and stir. Make sure to do a lot of scooping and over-turning of the popcorn to get the carmel evenly distributed.
Let it cool (5 minutes) and then break up clumps if you need to.
Originally posted 24th January 2011 by Beth