Monday, October 22, 2007

Caramel Corn

"Are you kidding me???"

-Me, after my first bite of this caramel corn.

Well, I had never made caramel corn before. It's just so darn easy to buy, you know? But last Christmas, I was in a pinch and was making a basket of goodies for some extended family members as Christmas gifts. I purchased some lovely baskets and filled them with (if I recall correctly) homemade hot chocolate mix, a batch of Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie dough (refrigerated, of course), chocolate covered pretzels, and this caramel corn. So, you know, meant for dieters. And those on South Beach.

Suffice it to say that my baskets held less caramel corn than I had originally intended, mostly because we ate some of it. Okay, half of it.

Give it a try sometime this fall! Fresh, still-warm-from-the-oven caramel corn has very little to do with the store bought stuff. It's a wonderful treat!

My Amish Friend's Caramel Corn

7 quarts plain popped popcorn
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine (or butter)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Line two large baking pans with parchment paper. If you have no parchment paper, just grease them really well. Divide the corn between the two pans.

Preheat the oven to 25o degrees.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, margarine (or butter). Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to blend. Let the mixture boil for 5 minutes, and be sure to stir constantly.

Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will be light and foamy. Pour immediately over the corn and stir to coat. Don't stress out about the "coat" part, though--the next step is to bake it for an hour, stirring to redistribute every 15 minutes. That redistribution will get it plenty coated.

Line your countertops with waxed paper, and dump the corn onto the waxed paper to cool. When the corn has cooled, break it into pieces to separate. Store in an airtight container!

Serves 1 (if that 1 is me.)

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