Thursday, October 20, 2011

Easy caramel corn

One of my holiday specialties is making homemade caramels. What's not to love about caramel? It could be one of the best flavors ever in my book. I learned how to make them by a few trial-and-error batches from a recipe I got in the newspaper.
More on that once the holidays won't be long! As one of my gardening newsletters recently pointed out, only 88 days until January 1. Eeek!

So, I was overjoyed to find an easy recipe for homemade caramel corn in one of my magazines. With the hands-on time at 20 minutes and the whole recipe taking one hour, it looked good to me.

Easy Caramel Corn

Nonstick cooking spray
3T canola or vegetable oil
1/4c popcorn kernels
6T unsalted butter, cut into piece
1/3c packed light brown sugar
3T light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the popcorn kernels, cover and cook, shaking the saucepan constantly once the kernels begin to pop, until there is a 2-3 second interval between pops, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and lightens in color, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla and salt. Pour over the cooked popcorn and with rubber spatula, toss to coat.

Spread popcorn mixture on the prepared baking sheet and bake, tossing once, until deep amber, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, toss and let cool on baking sheet. (The popcorn will crisp as it cools)

Makes 6 cups. Will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.


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