In a thin and shallow 3 1/2-quart pot, heat the oil over high heat. Put 2 kernels of popcorn into the pan, cover, and wait to hear them both pop. Remove the pan from the heat, take out the 2 popped kernels, add in the remaining kernels, cover, and let sit for 1 minute.
Put the pot back over the stove on high heat. Within a few minutes, the popcorn should start popping. Give the pan a good shake every now and then to ensure even heating.
Once the popping slows down to nearly a stop, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 1 more minute to give any stubborn kernels a chance to pop. Pour into two large serving bowls.
In a large saucepan whisk together sugar, half and half, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Heat mixture to 232 degrees, stirring occasionally. Immediately remove from heat and pour in vanilla and food coloring.
Drizzle mixture over popped popcorn. Gently stir popcorn until mixture is evenly coated and coating begins to dry (you\'ll notice the popcorn kernels separating). Pour mixture onto waxed paper and allow to dry about 20 minutes.