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Monday, November 20, 2006

Vanilla Caramel Popcorn

Since popcorn is one of my favorite snacks, and I like trying out new recipes, this weekend included a rendezvous with my oven to make this recipe from bakingsheet. Serendipitously, I, too, had a measuring mishap during the process, though mine was due to misreading rather than being startled. I used 2 Tablespoons instead of 2 teaspoons of molasses. (I scooped some out and added a bit of corn syrup back to get the ratio somewhat correct.) I also added some nuts to the mix. We found the extra molasses and nuts to be wonderful. I would have had a picture to share, but unfortunately, the popcorn was devoured too quickly. So, without further adieu, here's my modified version of Vanilla Caramel Popcorn.

8-10 cups popcorn, un- or lightly-salted (I used air popped)
1 cup almonds, chopped (medium pieces, about 1/4 inch)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 tsp molasses (original recipe calls for 2 tsp)
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Pop the corn and let cool. Line a 10x15 pan with lightly greased foil or a Silpat. Preheat oven to 250F. Place glass bowl in oven to warm while making the caramel.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, molasses and butter; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 250F and is at hard-ball stage (use a candy thermometer). This will take 2 to 3 minutes.

In the meantime, transfer popcorn and nuts to the now-warm glass bowl.

Remove pan from the heat and immediately stir in salt, baking soda, and vanilla. (Warning, the mixture will foam!) Pour the mixture over the popcorn and nuts, stirring until most of the kernels are coated. Pour mixture onto baking sheet.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring (and if necessary, spreading out) every 15-20 minutes.

Let cool and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

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