Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Caramel Corn

Popcorn is one of my favorite treats, especially when it's fresh kettle corn or butter glazed popcorn on the boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach.  I figured out how to make good kettle corn, but I still haven't mastered the butter glazed popcorn from the beach.  However, this caramel corn recipe is pretty tasty.  It's crispy, not sticky and it wasn't difficult to make.

First, I popped 4 quarts of plain popcorn in my Whirley Pop.  How did I measure something obscure like 4 quarts of popcorn?  I've learned that 1/2 cup of unpopped kernels = 4 quarts of popped corn.  If you want to be really sure, just fill up a 1 gallon pitcher with popped corn and it's about right.  You can pop your corn any way you like.  I'm sure you can use microwave corn, but whatever you do, make sure your popcorn is plain.  There will be so much buttery, sugary goo going into this recipe that you do not need any additional salt or butter!

Spread your popcorn out on a baking sheet.  I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper, but you could also spray your sheet with Pam.

I added some nuts to my popcorn.  You could add walnuts, pecans, peanuts... I opted for almonds.  I think they are supposed to lower your cholesterol.  Especially when they are bathed in butter and sugar.

Next, create the glaze.  It starts the way all good things start:  butter and sugar.  Butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup to be exact.

Let this cook down for a few minutes until it's nice, bubbly, and smooth.  Then remove it from the heat of the stove and stir in some vanilla and a little bit of baking soda (and watch it foam up temporarily).

Don't be tempted to taste the glaze at this point!  Hot sugar is very dangerous and can leave you with serious burns to your fingers and tongue!  (Don't ask how I know this.)

At this point you need to move quickly.  Pour the hot glaze all over the popcorn and toss it to get everything coated.

Bake the coated popcorn for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  When it's done, dump it out on some waxed paper and sprinkle the entire concoction with some kosher salt.  I like that sweet and salty thing.

End result?  Crunchy, sweet, salty, buttery popcorn.  That's right, crunchy, not sticky.

This stuff is so good I'd smuggle it into a movie theater.  It's so good that I (almost) don't miss the popcorn at the beach.

Caramel Corn

4 quarts plain popped popcorn
1 c. dry roasted nuts (optional)
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. butter
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Place the popped popcorn into a shallow, greased baking pan.  Add the nuts to the popped corn if using. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don't worry too much at this point about getting all of the corn coated.

Bake for 1 hour, removing the pan, and giving the corn  a good stir every 15 minutes. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces. Allow to cool completely, and sprinkle with salt.  Store leftovers in airtight containers or resealable bags

1 comment:

  1. Ok... you are making me hungry. That looks soooo good....and I'm not even into popcorn.


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