Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: Caramel Popcorn--great for gift giving!

i love making caramel popcorn. My grandpa LOVES it so, in honor of him, today's tutorial is how to make it! The finished product will be sent to him ASAP but this popcorn is also great to give as gifts--Mother's Day, end-of-year teacher's gifts, Christmas/Holidays, etc. please note: caramel sauce is incredibly hot. please use caution when handling this hot mixture! burns can easily happen if you are not careful!

You will need:

*2 sticks butter
*2 cups brown sugar (I usually use light but you can use dark, too)
*1/2 cup corn syrup (either light or dark, as well)
*1 tsp salt
*1 tsp vanilla
*1/2 tsp baking soda

and, of course:

*1 cup Popcorn kernels

optional are:

*Nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts etc.)
*Semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 large bowls, 2 spatulas, 2 large baking sheets (treated with cooking spray), and a paper bag treated with cooking spray:

Heat oven to 250

Pop the popcorn--I use either an air popper or a big pan on my gas stove top. If you have a gas stove and a no-stick big pan, you can pop the kernels over high heat without using any oil. Alternatively, you can coat the bottom of the pan with oil, wait for it to get warm and then CAREFULLY add the kernels to the pan--don't burn yourself on the hot oil! (aside: I think that you get puffier popcorn if you use the air popper, though, so that is what I usually use.) Since most people might not have an air popper, though, i used a pan for this tutorial:

Pour the popped popcorn into the prepared bag and, if you are using nuts, add them. Close up the bag and shake to distribute the nuts and kernels

Melt the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt in a thick-bottomed pan (we use calphalon and it works great), stirring continuously.

Once the mixture starts bubbling, stop stirring and let it boil over medium heat for 4 minutes--NO STIRRING! (note that I have my vanilla and baking soda ready to go--just don't spill the vanilla like i did!)

Pull from the heat after 4 minutes and add the vanilla and then the baking soda. Stir the mixture really well--you want to get all the baking soda mixed in so that it can "foam". It should look like the first picture after 4 minutes of bubbling and look like the second picture after adding the baking soda and vanilla:

Pour the caramel over the popcorn nut mixture and rapidly "toss" so that you can coat as many pieces as possible.

Scrape all the caramelly goodness off the sides of the bag, too! The more you coat the better!

Once coated, put the popcorn on the 2 baking sheets and place in the oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. I also alternate rack positions every 15 minutes but that is optional.

Let cool for 30 minutes and then pour into a big bowl with the chocolate chips. If you are giving away popcorn as gifts, tie up individual bags of popcorn. Everyone will love it!

PS if you want the tutorial button, just copy the info in the box below:

6 people think...:

Upstatemomof3 said...

Not only do I REALLY want to try that recipe now. I am now dying for caramel popcorn. :)

Lauren said...

I'm going to be bad and linky a few of my yummy foods tutorials...just in keeping with your TT. ;o) I can't wait to make this popcorn!

schander said...

Hey, Great post, however for us folk across the pond it's a little difficult to get the quantities correct, no-one over here sells 'stick's of butter'.
I would love to have a go at this recipe.

*~*a.l.s*~* said...

Hey Schander...not sure how to get you the conversions because you don't have a visible profile but if you email me i'd be happy to help you out!

schander said...

PM Sent.

Simply Decadent said...

Oh my now I am going to be dreaming of caramel corn (my fav) anything with caramel and optional chocolate. Cant wait to try this.