04 January 2011

Hit List 2011: Caramel Corn!

It's not even a full week into 2011 and I can check off my Hit List item #1: caramel corn! I've been craving it, dreaming about it, drooling for caramel corn for weeks. Must've been those tins of popcorn we kept getting at work for the holidays, haha. Then it popped up on Tastespotting, and I had to make it. Plus I love popcorn - it's probably in my top 5 favorite foods I could eat every day. And I was at my mom's the other day and broke open a can of poppycock and couldn't put it down. It was time to make it for myself!
So, I've made toffee before, so you'd think I'd be confident in the making the candy part of this... except I've also attempted soft caramels before and ended up with a solid, entirely NOT soft piece of sugar candy. It's one of the few things I've ever had to toss out. So I was nervous, but luckily it was surprisingly easy! I read a couple recipes and just went with them versus pulling out my candy thermometer. Thankfully it worked! This is freaking awesome. Vanilla-y (we all know I'm a vanilla girl) because I "accidentally" spilled a little extra, crunchy, light, sweet... and addictive! When I first started making it I thought 20 cups was a lot of popcorn.,, Now I'm not sure if it'll make it to my family dinner on Thursday :-D If you like caramel corn - make it at home and enjoy :)

Caramel Corn
adapted from Dunkin Cookin the Semihomemade Way

20 cups popcorn (approx 1 cup popcorn kernels - I popped them according to the package directions)
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 C light corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 C almonds* or other nuts if desired
Pop the popcorn. Allow to cool. Place in a large roasting pan.

Preheat oven to 275. In a medium heavy bottom pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, then stirring, cook for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla (it'll sputter a bit) and baking soda. Stir until it gets fluffy and the color becomes lighter. Pour over the popcorn and stir until evenly coated.

Bake for 1 hour, taking out every 15 minutes to stir. Pour out onto parchment or wax paper lined baking sheets to cool. Once it's cool, break up into pieces and try not to eat it all :)
* Note - I made 3/4 regular caramel corn and 1/4 caramel corn with almonds... so if you want to add enough nuts for all of it, probably increase it to 1 1/2 C.

1 comment:

  1. I am sitting here at work wondering where this alleged corn is. What the heck woman.