Use plain, unflavored popcorn. Add the caramel mixture to the popcorn first, then the peanuts, so the nuts do not sink to the bottom of the bowl. You need a candy thermometer to make the caramel.
|Vegetable oil (for the sheet and shaping)|
|2 1/2||cups brown sugar|
|3/4||cup corn syrup|
|1||teaspoon vanilla extract|
|18||cups popped corn (8 to 10 ounces popped weight)|
|1 1/2||cups salted peanuts|
1. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
2. In a medium saucepan combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook the mixture for 8 to 10 minutes or until it reaches 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.
3. Remove the mixture from the heat and add a pinch of salt and vanilla. Pour over the popcorn and add the peanuts. With a wooden spoon stir to coat evenly, working quickly because the caramel will begin to harden.
4. Lightly oil your hands. Shape the popcorn mixture into 12 equal-size balls about 2 inches in diameter. Place on the baking sheet. Let them sit for 30 minutes.