Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Baking GALS Round 2 - Caramel Popcorn

I’ve been having baker’s block recently.  Anytime I think of something to make, it’s always something I’ve already done…booorrrrinng!  I wanted to try and come up with something new and exciting for this round of Operation Baking GALS.  Well???  Epic fail.  I went right back to a recipe I use every Christmas….caramel popcorn. Believe me though, you’d totally understand if you’d had it before.  This past year it was renamed “crack-corn” because it is just so addictive.

I figured the guys are probably getting tons of chocolate chip cookies or snickerdoodles or all of the basics, so while not a new recipe for me, the popcorn is probably going to spice things up a bit for them.  Plus, there’s something to be said for the tried and true, isn’t there?  Trust me, it’s amazing!

My Amish Friend’s Caramel Corn (from allrecipes.com)
7 quarts plain popped popcorn – no skimping with microwaved here people - stovetop all the way!
2 cups dry roasted peanuts (optional)
2 cups packed brown sugar – I use 1 cup light/1 cup dark
½ cup light corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1 cup margarine – I use unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking soda

1)      Place popped corn into two greased baking pans (about 9x13x2).  Add peanuts if using.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 250º.  Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend.  Once it begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda.  The mixture will turn light and foamy.  Keep stirring and immediately pour over the popcorn in both pans.  Stir to coat.  Don’t worry about getting absolutely everything coated at this point.

Bake for 1 hour, removing the pans and stirring well, every 15 minutes.  Line the counter with wax paper.  After an hour, dump the popcorn onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces – work fast as it cools pretty quickly.  Allow to cool completely then store in air-tight containers or resealable bags.