Sunday, 5 February 2012

Caramel Corn - Never Buying Popcorn for Tuesday Movie Nights Again!

I've always always wanted to make caramel corn, but the idea of it seemed daunting to me. Then the other day I saw a recipe for maple syrup popcorn and thought it might be easier to do than caramelizing sugar from scratch. Just so happens that Chris had some friends over and I thought I'd make something they could snack on.

So I proceeded with popping the kernels, only to realize afterwards that I only had 1/2 cup of maple syrup left when the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups. My only choice was to substitute the other cup with regular much for making life easier.

I never regretted making it though, because I have not yet seen Chris this happy about something I've made before. Usually he'd rate my food 7/10, then there was that one time he said the pulled pork was "sooooo good" and willingly ate leftovers for the next 4 days.

3/4 -1 cup of kernels or 8-10 cups of plain popcorn
3 tbsps of vegetable oil
cayenne pepper
1 stick/ 1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of maple syrup or corn syrup (or add another 1/2 cup of sugar)

Heat the oil in a big pot then toss in the kernels and a big, gigantic pinch of salt. A pinch is usually less than a tsp, so by gigantic I don't mean dump in a quarter cup of salt...more like a 2 tsps. Make sure you have a lid ready and cover the pot when the kernels are popping. They will be flying everywhere.

What used to be a few kernels at the bottom has almost reached the top of the pot! Sprinkle with paprika and cayenne pepper. If it's not salty enough then add a bit more salt, but remember it's supposed to be a sweet recipe.

Combine the butter, maple syrup, and sugar in a pot and bring it to a boil. You want the mixture to reach 275 degrees, called a soft crack stage. At this point the sugar will harden when you drop it into cold water, but it will still bend a little before breaking. I used a thermometer for the temperature, but if you don't have one then you can use the water method. So just get a bowl of water ready and every once in a while, dip a fork into the sugar then dip it into the water.

When it has reached 275 degrees, take it off the heat and pour over the popcorn. Toss it around with a wooden spoon then spread the popcorn onto a baking sheet lined with a sheet of buttered parchment paper. Let it cool then serve. You may need to break apart some of the once that got stuck together during the cooling process. I got a lot of compliments for this although it wasn't hard at all to make. Very, very pleased with this recipe. 

Also, I'm debating on getting another candy thermometer since this one that I'm using seems to be a bit slow in reading the temperature. Another 30 dollar investment in cooking it worth it?

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