Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's Cookin' Wednesday ~ Ummmm ... Caramel Corn

Today we are going to have a lesson in making caramel corn.  Don't be scared - there are no candy thermometers involved.  No hard ball stages to contend with.  The recipe I use is so easy, so good.

Since I have come to the conclusion that I am never going to be able to, nor do I really want to, eliminate sugary goodness from my life, I have decided that if I am going to indulge, I would be better off making them myself.  That way I know what ingredients are used and I can, if I want to, adjust the sugar and butter content.

(Yeah, right!)

The bonus to this is that after getting used to homemade candy and cookies, the store bought stuff tastes like plastic and chemicals to me and I no longer waste my allowance on anything that I can make myself.

The recipe I use for caramel corn is one of Paula Deen's that I found on the Food Network site.  It is very similar to one I got from a lady that I used to work with many, many years ago that I managed somehow to loose.

The first thing to do is to pop enough popcorn to fill a turkey roasting pan. Use whatever method you would like to pop the popcorn.  If you don't have a Whirly Pop Popcorn popper, I would highly suggest that you get one.  Right now.  I'll wait.  Now, here is what I do ... I pop the popcorn, then pour it into my large tupperware bowl.  I give it a couple of good shakes so that all the old maids fall to the bottom.  Then I scoop the popcorn into the roasting pan, being careful not to get any of the old maids in the pan.

Making the caramel sauce is so very easy.

Melt one cup of butter over medium heat.  Do not substitute margarine or I Think I Won't Be Fooled That It's Not Butter!  Paula will know!

Add two cups of packed brown sugar ...

... And 1/2 cup of light corn syrup.  Here is a helpful hint - rinse out the measuring cup with water before you pour in the corn syrup.  The water will help with getting all the corn syrup out of the measuring cup.  No charge today for that hint.

Add a palm full of salt.  I think the recipe calls for one teaspoon.

Bring this all to a boil and boil it for five minutes, stirring every so often.

After the five minutes are up, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the baking soda.  Now, here is where I get spunky and Dorothy-ize the recipe.  I also add a couple of squirts of vanilla.  Shhhh - don't tell Paula.  And, yes, yes, I know.  My picture of the vanilla and baking soda is not focused correctly.  Sorry.

Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn and stir to get every last molecule coated.  It may help to get a magnifying glass.  I find what works best is to go slow and use a folding motion.  I hope you understand why there are no pictures to demonstrate this.

Two hands.
Taking pictures.
Hot molten sugar.
Something had to be sacrificed.

Pop the pan into the oven, stir every fifteen minutes.  

At the end of an hour, you have a tasty treat that even a squish baby would love.  Oh my! That is one creepy picture!

Here is the link to the recipe on the Food Network:

Have the BEST day ever!
~ Dorothy

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