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Advent Calendar - Caramel Corn - Dec 15

Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh Advent Calendar Christmas DIY gift Gifts with Herbs Herby Gift recipe

It is Craft Time

Herb crafts are a great way to have some fun and make your home smell wonderful. And this will definitely smell great! 

Caramel Corn

So does your holiday include cozying up with the family to binge watch holiday theme movies?  Then I have the perfect treat for you. Here’s a quick and easy way to make what I find to be amazing caramel corn, with both stovetop and microwave instructions, your choice. Either way, the secret to crunchy, caramelly awesomeness is to finish by baking the caramel corn in a low temperature oven, stirring often.

Caramel Corn

  • 12 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup kernels or about two bags of microwave popcorn)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (omit if using salted microwave popcorn)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Place the popped popcorn into a big bowl, one that is at least twice the volume of the popcorn itself. I had to use my Halloween candy bowl for something large enough. Do not err on the side of a bowl that is too small, because you are going to do some serious stirring in a bit. Remove any un-popped kernels and set aside.

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS: Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend.

Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. You’ll get a little show here as the vanilla will sizzle while the baking soda gets all foamy and gorgeous. Make sure the mixture is stirred very well, then immediately pour over the popcorn. Stir well to coat all of the popcorn. Keep stirring. Do a little more than you think you should.

MICROWAVE INSTRUCTIONS: Cut the butter into chunks and place in a microwave-safe bowl along with the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir well to combine. Microwave on high for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove bowl from microwave and stir very well. Return to microwave and heat for 2 more minutes on high. Remove from microwave and stir in vanilla and baking soda. It will make popping sounds and get light and foamy. After stirring, immediately pour over the popcorn in the bowl. Stir well to coat all of the popcorn.

Whichever method you’ve followed, now spread the coated popcorn on one large or two smaller cookie sheets, breaking up any clumps. Bake at 200F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread out on waxed paper and allow to cool.

 

The big finish: This last step is critical, so don’t skip it. Sample the caramel corn to make sure it is fit for human consumption perhaps even for gift-giving. You cannot be too careful here. Once you are satisfied, and if any caramel corn remains, store in airtight containers or bags.

I like to fill cups with caramel corn and add them to treats platters. Or slip them into a small clear food bag, twist the bag top, and tie on some ribbon. It makes a beautiful little homemade gift.

 



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