Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Caramel Corn

Last week I was invited to a birthday party.  We had just gotten back from the beach, and our kitchen was looking a little sparse.  I still asked my friend who was hosting the shindig if I could bring anything, and she said a dessert or a side.  Looking around three hours before the party I concluded that there was very little in my pantry, and no time to go to the store.  I did, however, have a whole bunch of popping corn, and I ALWAYS have sugar and butter.  I showed up one time with a nice little treat!

I actually made two batches of this recipe from Allrecipes(very slightly modified).  The first one I made according to the recipe, and it was a total disaster.  I ended up throwing it in the compost.  The second batch came out very nicely with a few tweaks recommended by a commenter.  These instructions are (obviously) for the successful batch!

Ruined first batch that was supposed to be done entirely in the microwave.

You will need

About 2/3 cup popping corn (should make about 16 popped cups)($1.69 per lb, $1.69 x .31lb = $.52)

1 cup brown sugar ($.99 per 16oz, $.99/2.35 cups = $.42)

1 stick butter ($4.99 per lb, $4.99/4 sticks = $1.25)

¼ cup light corn syrup ($1.99 per 16fl.oz, $1.99/16fl.oz = $.12 x 2fl.oz  = $.25)

1 tsp homemade vanilla ($.01 per ml, $.01 x 4.92ml = $.05)

½ tsp baking soda ($.77 per 16oz, $.77/94.38tsp = $.01 x .5tsp = less than $.01)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and grease two baking sheets. 
Pop the popcorn in two batches in the microwave in a brown paper lunch bag- about a minute and a half per batch, or until you hear no pops for 2 seconds. Pour into a large bowl (bonus if you get the unpopped kernels out!).  While it is popping, heat the sugar, butter, syrup, and vanilla over low heat until it is very bubbly.  Remove from heat and add baking soda.
Work quickly, but make sure it's very evenly distributed!
Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn and mix well with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed, working quickly before the sauce sets and becomes unmanageable.
Pour mixture onto the baking sheets and distribute evenly.  Bake at 300 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Allow to cool.

At this point, you can heat up some chocolate and drizzle it over the popcorn if you want.  It’s pretty tasty!
One of two pans of this treat!

Try It

$2.49 for 16 cups, or $.16 per cup.

Buy It

$15 for 4 gallons at Great Scott’s Gourmet Popcorn, or $.23 per cup.


Try It.  Aside from the fact that most places probably don’t have an awesome popcorn store in their area, it’s cheap and easy to make.  

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