Sunday, October 10, 2010

Late Night Mini Blog

This is one of those times where it is a bad thing to be able to cook whatever you happen to be craving. Mine just so happened to be caramel popcorn. And I (of course) located a recipe which was super quick to whip up, using the microwave. So, at about 10:45 pm I start making caramel corn. Yes, I probably should seek some professional mental help....and a gym.
Well, of course you must start by making the popcorn. I have seen several caramel corn recipes that use microwave popcorn, and I'm sorry folks, but that's just plain nasty. Like I say to my husband, once you go homemade, you never go back. This is especially true concerning popcorn in my case. 
So for homemade popcorn all you need is one of these, if you're lucky enough to find a good, old-fashioned one (or you can us an electric popper, whatever you have):

The ingredients are few (I used 1/2 cup of kernels):

 Now listen to that marvelous popping sound. ahh....
Popcorn before the caramel upgrade:

Once that's all popped set it aside in a BIG bowl. Now gather your ingredients for the caramel.

Now, I originally made one batch, but discovered it wasn't enough caramel for the amount of popcorn I had to suit my taste. Of course, after I decided to make a second batch I discovered I didn't have enough brown sugar, so I used white sugar instead. As I was watching it in the microwave, I decided that it wasn't going to brown well enough, so I took it out and poured in a little molasses. It actually added a nice, unique flavor to the corn after being added to the first batch.
Alrighty, so you will want to cut up the stick of butter into cubes to help it melt faster. But this, and the syrup, salt and sugar in a microwave safe container. You'll want a fairly large vessel, because as this microwaves it's going to foam and bubble and you could end up with caramel all over your microwave and that would really suck to have to clean. So, first microwave it for 30 seconds. Take it out and stir it really well. Then stick it back in the zapper for 2 minutes. Take it out and stir it again. Microwave it 2 more minutes. Add the baking soda and vanilla. When you do that it's going to foam and fizz and be totally cool. Stir it vigorously and immediately pour it over the waiting popcorn. Almost there!
Stir that stuff until you feel that your arm is going to fall off. Then spread it onto a large baking sheet and break it up into small pieces so you don't have one giant caramel popcorn ball. Wait....that might be kind of awesome. Maybe next time.
Popcorn after upgrade:

Enjoy this with a big glass of cold milk and experience how truly wonderful rotting your teeth can truly be.

Caramel Corn:
12 cups popped corn (about 1/2 cup kernels)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light karo syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick of butter, cut into cubes
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pop corn and place aside in a large bowl. Place brown sugar, Karo syrup, salt and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds. Stir well. Microwave 2 minutes. Stir well. Microwave 2 more minutes. Add baking soda and vanilla. Stir vigorously. Pour immediately onto popcorn and stir like heck. Spread onto a cookie sheet and break into pieces. 

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