Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Salted Caramel Corn

Last night, I came across a new cooking blog, Smells Like Home, but more importantly, a new recipe for homemade caramel corn.  This isn't typically a recipe I'd think of making at Christmastime, but it jumped out at me last night before I went to bed.  Of course, first thing this morning, the kids were driving me nuts at 8 am, so we took out the popcorn popper and got to work.  They just love watching the popcorn shoot out (we never use microwave popcorn anymore)- I think my parents got this for me at a yard sale for $1.

Caramel corn: ( I slightly modified her recipe because I only had 3/4 cup unpopped kernels)
3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1 1/2 sticks salted butter (3/4 cup)
3/8 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp sea salt (I actually used Kosher salt- I don't know how much difference this makes)
3/8 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp vanilla

Pop your popcorn.  I recommend dividing it up into 2 very large bowls, I felt like mine were large bowls and still didn't have enough space.  I also recommend maybe very very lightly greasing the bowls because when the caramel cools, it hardens, making washing a bit more tricky.

In a 2 Qt saucepan (I used a 1.5 qt.  since I was using 3/4 of her recipe, but I would recommend at least 2 Qt because the caramel mixture bubbles up pretty high), melt the butter over medium low heat.  Once the butter is melted, add in the corn syrup, brown sugar, and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Once it boils, do not mix and let it continue to boil for 5 minutes (mine bubbled up almost to the top of the pan).  After 5 minutes, remove from heat, mix in the baking soda and vanilla (may foam higher).

Pour mixture over the bowls of popcorn.

Using large spoons (or salad tongs) toss the popcorn so it is evenly coated with caramel.

Place on two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper (to avoid a sticky messy later).  Bake at 250' for 40-50 minutes.  I baked it for 45 minutes.  If you try a piece and it doesn't taste crunchy, bake for about 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven, let cool, break apart, add in nuts or m and m's if you want and enjoy!  I didn't have any fancy bags or boxes because I wasn't planning on making this, so excuse my plain old ziploc bags:

Oh my, is this good!  I solemnly swear never to buy cracker jacks again!  This would be fun to give out at a birthday party, if you could find some cute little boxes and put your own little packs of stickers or tattoos in as a prize.

Excuse me while I use this bribe to send my kids outside to play ;)

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