Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Caramel Popcorn

One of my favorite memories from growing up is my mom making a huge batch of caramel popcorn on a Sunday evening any my family all sitting down to watch some old Disney movie together. It is a tradition that I have carried on with my kids.

This recipe is a little different from the others as it isn't an exact science...I looked and looked for microwave popcorn that is unbuttered and unsalted, but it is hard to find so I make my own. If you have a popcorn popper (what in the world are those things called) all the better. As I don't have one I just make it in a large stock pot with a lid as my mom did. you cover the bottom with oil, just enough to coat the bottom, not a ton over medium or medium/low. Place ONE popcorn kernel in the pot and put the lid on. When that kernel pops you know the oil is hot enough. I then poured in enough popcorn kernels to just cover the bottom of the pan. Do not dump them in or you will have popcorn out your ears. In order to not burn the popcorn I take hot pads and shake the pot back and forth over the burner so it doesn't sit in one place too long. It really isn't that big of deal, but is harder than the other methods.

Once the popcorn is done I place it in one big bowl or two medium bowls depending one how much I made/want

Then you need a recipe for caramel. I usually use my good old Betty Crocker recipe. The same one that I use to actually make caramels at Christmas. Here it is for all of you who need a good recipe, and it is I assure you.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or stick margarine
2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
3/4 cup light corn syrup

Heat all ingredients to boiling in 3 quart heavy saucepan (I have had this overflow on my burner before so I use a stock pot) over MEDIUM heat, stirring constantly. Don't be tempted to turn the burner higher because it will burn (yes I know that from experience).

I don't cook this recipe as long as it says because I want a thick caramel sauce (not as thin as an ice cream sauce recipe), not caramels. The recipe says 35 minutes, I cook it for about 20 minutes, until dropping a little bit in a bowl of cold water forms a soft ball that loses it shape when out of the water.

After your caramel is done you pour in a thin stream onto the popcorn while someone else stirs it in until it is all blended. How carmely it is depends on your taste, for me it is drenched in caramel!

It really isn't as hard as it may sound, I make it quite a bit and it gets easier the more you do it.

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