The Clockmaker's Caramel Coated Popcorn (A Haunted Recipe)

"In 1921, a German born clockmaker quit his well respected job to open a popcorn stand in Chicago’s Wicker Park District. The clockmaker’s typical fare was freshly popped popcorn drizzled with warm butter and sprinkled with salt; but his favorite, and most beloved popcorn, was his caramel coated popcorn. The recipe he used to make it was given to him from his only true love, who tragically died four years earlier during World War I. The tattered and torn recipe, which was scribbled on the inside of an old playbill, was carefully framed and sealed in an exquisite frame. The clockmaker faithfully took the framed recipe with him everywhere he went. By the summer of 1924, the clockmaker’s caramel coated popcorn had captivated the entire city’s attention; everyone was frantically lining up at his busy stand to buy the sweet, sticky confection. A few months later, just as the clockmaker was preparing to close his stand for the day, a small fire ignited near the stove. The clockmaker instinctively ran out to call for help. When he returned, just seconds later, he remembered leaving the framed recipe hanging on the wall. The clockmaker quickly ran into the burning stand to retrieve the recipe, but he never made it out. When the fire inspectors went into the charred ruins to investigate the accident, they found the clockmaker’s frame lying in a pile of smoking debris. The frame was in pristine condition; not a dent, nor a blemish, could be seen on it. However, the recipe was gone. The recipe for the clockmaker’s caramel popcorn recently surfaced and is beginning to circulate around the globe. Unfortunately, many people think the recipe is haunted because it is believed that if your clock stops running after making the recipe it’s because the clockmaker has paid you a visit in hopes of reclaiming his long, lost recipe. NOTE: This recipe, as written, results in a sticky, chewy caramel popcorn. If you prefer a crunchier caramel popcorn, bake it in the oven at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes."
photo by Beverlee H. photo by Beverlee H.
photo by Beverlee H.
photo by AZPARZYCH photo by AZPARZYCH
photo by 2Bleu photo by 2Bleu
photo by Southern Polar Bear photo by Southern Polar Bear
photo by Southern Polar Bear photo by Southern Polar Bear
Ready In:




  • In a LARGE pot, heat the margarine, brown sugar, Karo syrup, and salt together over medium heat.
  • While stirring, bring mixture to a boil and allow to boil for five minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add baking soda and vanilla.
  • Mix well.
  • Pour over freshly popped popcorn.
  • Stir until the popcorn is well coated.
  • Enjoy!

Questions & Replies

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  1. Cher Oliver
    very yummy. i halfed the recipe, cooking the caramel mixture in the microwave instead of the stove top. takes about 2 minutes. i used 8 cups of popcorn. it was not too sticky and not to hard, just right! this is a keepr. i couldn't even wait for it to cool before digging in. p.s. try putting it in a big brown bag after it has all been stirred together and then microwaving for 1 1/2 minutes. It makes each kernel indiviually caramelized and not sticky at all.
  2. Catygurl
    This is an amazing recipe, I have made it for myself and my siblings and it's so good! I definately like cruncy caramel popcorn so I baked it for an hour at 250 degrees and it was delicious! Another thing me and my little sibling have done is add peanuts when it's sticky and then roll in popcorn balls, anyway you do it's just yummy!
  3. CassiaDawn
    Mmm. This was just the type of caramel popcorn I was craving! I used 10 cups of popcorn - next time I think I'll use between 12 and 15. It makes a very sticky caramel corn with only 10 cups! 12/09 Made this again with about 14 cups of popcorn and it was perfect - just sticky enough to make popcorn balls with. (I should mention I used hard margarine both times I've made this.)
  4. So Happy at Home
    My daughter made this after gleaning tips from the other reviews. It is INCREDIBLE!! She did one stick of margarine, one stick of butter, doubled the popcorn amount, and spread the mixture onto two greased cookie sheets to cook at 250 for 30 minutes, stirring 1/2 way through. Wonderful! We bagged it up in goodie bags for our neighbors for a happier Halloween. Thanks for a keeper!
  5. LCSosa
    Love this recipe..the only thing is I used Light Brown Sugar the first time and Dark the second. In my opinion the Light came out soo much better!! Delicious recipe :)


  1. delish 2
    Great recipe and fun story to go with it ;)I used butter in place of margarine and baked in oven on two greased cookie sheets for the full hour stirring and breaking up every 15 min as directed. Delicious, tastes like crunch n munch popcorn which I love. Next time I'll add some cashews or salted peanuts for extra yumminess!
  2. HawaiianBaker
    Delicious and so easy! I used butter instead of margarine and cut the recipe in half for all ingredients except the popcorn. It still turned out fabulous and super sweet. I think next time I will cut the recipe down to 1/4 for everything but the popcorn, making it just slightly sweet. This stuff is so good we almost ate it all in one sitting. I guess I'd feel better about eating it all if I knew I wasn't eating a whole stick of butter and 1 cup of sugar!!
  3. Colean
    This is my first attempt at making caramel popcorn, and I found it to be very easy. I did use butter instead of margarine, added cashew pieces, and roasted in the oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. And as a matter of fact, my clock did some strange things...oh, wait. This is the end of daylight savings time -- we "fell" back one hour today. Ah, well. For a moment I was left wondering. I was testing the recipe in anticipation of using it for Christmas gifts for neighbors and co-workers, along with cinnamon popcorn and peppermint, candy-coated popcorn. This will definitely be in the gift basket. Truly a winner!
    Awesome! Loved it! I made a few minor changes... To make it easy... I popped 3 full bags of Butter popcorn in microwave, then used all butter instead of margarine, and then added a cup of roasted peanuts, and finally cooked it in the oven as others did. This is easy, and a definite keeper for family and guests!
  5. PrincessNoKnot
    This stuff is so good! Coupla things though...the recipe makes a LOT of caramel. I used two bags of microwave popcorn (about 20-24 cups, depending) and it seemed about right. We liked it better with butter instead of margarine (we tried it both ways) and just like So Happy At Home, I baked it so it was crispy. The two year old at our party was following me around with a cup saying "popcorn! popcorn!" :) I adore the haunted story that comes with it. Great recipe!



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