Monday, September 26, 2005

Salted Caramel Popcorn

This is the same as the rosemary caramel popcorn photo. Because I couldn't find another one. I'm so lame.

Salted Caramel Popcorn
This is just so insanely good, and the mix of sweet and salty makes it treacherously hard to stop eating. Install a bigger kitchen sink and double the recipe. Give it away, wrapped in cellophane, in quart-sized metal paint buckets. Note: sometimes I skip the pecans, because I think it's only grown-ups who love them.

10 cups oil-popped popcorn (we pop 1/3 cup of kernels in 1 tablespoon of oil in a Whirly Pop)
1 ½ cups pecan halves or pieces, toasted in a 350 oven for 7 minutes and halves coarsely chopped or crushed with a rolling pin (a good job for a kid!)
½ cup salted butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (available at Whole Foods and some specialty stores) or light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

Unless you have the world’s largest mixing bowl, begin by giving your kitchen sink a thorough scrubbing and an equally thorough drying (a great job for a kid!), then dump the popped corn and pecans into it. Now, in a small pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the brown sugar and syrup, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for five minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat and add the vanilla, baking soda, and salt, and stir vigorously: the mixture will get very foamy and light. Pour it over the popcorn and pecans, and use a wooden spoon to stir it quickly, gently, and well. Now spread it out on a pair of large, rimmed baking sheets, and pop it in a 200 oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until it feels dry to the touch. Cool before packaging. (We package this in large plastic treat bags (from Michael’s), tied festively with ribbon.)

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