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Caramel Corn

I looooooooove caramel corn! It is the bees knees! I found a wickedly delicious recipe for it with nothing but granulated sugar, water, butter, baking soda and popcorn. It turned out ridiculous! I got a tummy ache from eating it.


Caramel Popcorn

                                           
At Craft restaurant in Manhattan, where I work as the pastry chef, I like to send out a small bowl of caramel popcorn as a parting gift to guests. I prefer yellow popcorn; it seems to yield the biggest popped kernels. Yields about 4 quarts.
                    
Nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil
3 Tbs. vegetable oil, such as peanut or canola
1/2 cup popcorn kernels, preferably yellow kernels
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 Tbs. kosher salt
1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) cold  unsalted butter, cut into small pieces



Pop the popcorn: Ok the original recipe asks you to pop kernels on the stove top, but honestly I know for a fact you can use what you have on hand. If all you have is microwave just don't add salt to the caramel.

Make the caramel: Measure the baking soda into a small dish so it’s ready to go. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment, foil, or nonstick silicone mats. In a 4-quart or larger saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, butter, and 1 cup water. Gently stir with a wooden or metal spoon just enough to immerse the sugar. Brush down the sides of the pot with water and a clean pastry brush. Cook the sugar mixture over high heat without stirring until it melts and bubbles and turns a very light golden caramel color on top; this will take 10 to 20  minutes, depending on your stove. The caramel will be darker than it appears on the surface, so don’t overcook. At this point, remove the pot from the heat.

Brush the sides of the pan clean with a wet pastry brush after you stir the water, sugar, salt, and butter.

Watch the boiling syrup, but don’t stir or swirl it. Once the syrup turns a golden caramel color, take it off the heat.
Working quickly off the heat, thoroughly whisk the baking soda into the caramel. Do this in or near the sink in case it spills over. The baking soda aerates the caramel, which makes it easier to eat when it’s cool, but causes it to bubble vigorously now, so be careful. Immediately pour the bubbling caramel over the popcorn in the bowl. Only use the caramel that pours out easily; don’t scrape the sides of the pot (the sugar on the sides of the pot crystallizes easily and can cause the caramel to do the same).

Whisk in the baking soda. The caramel will bubble vigorously and quickly rise up in the pan.

Pour the bubbling caramel onto the popcorn, taking care not to get any on yourself. Don’t scrape out the pot.

Using the heatproof spatulas, toss the caramel with the popcorn. When the popcorn is thoroughly coated, pour it onto the lined baking sheets and use the spatulas to pat it into one flat layer. As soon as it’s cool enough to touch, use your hands to break the layer into smaller clusters. Let them cool completely and then store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Toss the popcorn and caramel as you would a salad, using two heatproof spatulas.

Pat the caramel popcorn into a ­single layer on lined baking sheets.

Variations

Spicy: Stir 3/4 tsp. cayenne into the baking soda and add to the caramel as directed.
Nutty: Toss 2 cups lightly salted peanuts with the popcorn before pouring on the hot caramel.
Chocolaty: Add a handful of M&Ms candy or chocolate chips for another delicious variation!
Original recipe found on Fine Cooking
HERE.



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