There is no better way to turn a healthy snack into an unhealthy snack then by smothering all those wholesome nutrients in butter and sugar. And this, my friends, is what we get with Caramel Popcorn! If last weeks recipe was the caramel equivalent of a kiddie-pool, then this week we are advancing to the shallow-end with water wings. Lets get to it!
Things I love about Caramel Corn:
1. It’s delicious! It’s easy to make! It’s
a darn irritating mess to clean up after…erm, I mean…uh, delicious!
2. If you are going to throw popcorn at someone, caramel popcorn goes way farther and makes more of an impact then regular popcorn.
3. It packages in a variety of ways and keeps well, making it a fantastic food gift! Especially good for an in-the-mail gift as it weighs next to nothing and isn’t affected by heat/cold!
4. One batch makes a non-literal ton of the stuff, which is a really good thing if you are going to use it for a combination of points 1, 2 and 3.
1 cup butter (you just know its gonna be good if it starts with this much butter)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 cups brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
24 cups plain popped popcorn
How I do it: Pop the corn! I use an air popper and find that a scant cup of kernels makes about 24 cups popped, but measure your popped anyways to be sure. Put it in your vessel of choice, the ‘choice’ will be discussed in more depth a few steps down.
Preheat your oven to 225 degrees, lightly spray two cookies sheets and set them aside.
In a mid-sized saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring it to an easy boil while stirring constantly. Stirring CONSTANTLY! (we’ve talked about this before, we will talk about it again) and let’er rip for 4 mins. Once the time is up, add your vanilla then baking soda. Its gonna fizzle and sizzle and visibly lighten up a bit once the baking soda gets in, fear not, that’s what its supposed to do!
Now you are gonna pour that mixture over the popcorn and stir! Sound easy? Well its NOT >:( Its a BATTLE and the best thing you can do in a battle is plan your attack. I have tried this a few ways:
~You can go all old-school and use a big brown paper grocery bag. Just put all the popcorn in there, pour in the caramel, close it and shake. Its good because you have virtually no cleanup, but its bad cause some of that wonderful caramel becomes a casualty to the bag. Its still my preferred method though.
~You can use the hugest pot/bowl that you own. Put all the popcorn in there, pour in the caramel and stir with a big spoon. This is a good method if you don’t have a bag on hand but bad because the popcorn seems to always escape, regardless of how big a pot/bowl you use. And you still have casualties with the spoon and pot/bowl claiming caramel prisoners-of-war. Do I need to even mention washing the dishes? Thats a negative point too.
~I read somewhere online that you can mix it in your sink. I don’t really care how clean your sink is, that is DISGUSTING! Don’t do that.
The choice is yours – but totally plan for the bag. Once the mixing war is over, get the popcorn on your cookie sheets and pop it in the oven (did you catch my play on words? Im so witty). All you need to do from here is get in there and stir it every 15 mins for a total of 1 hour baking time. I like to use tongs for this, just sorta grab and flip the best you can. Don’t skip this step or you are gonna get a solid mass of caramel corn at the end of an hour. And that’s it!
We’ve now covered all the boil ‘n pour recipes we are gonna do in this series and are working our way out of the water wings! Stock up on butter, dust off/purchase your candy thermometer and I will see you back here next Thursday for our plunge into the deep end!
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