Monday, October 14, 2013

Caramel Corn

The traditional caramel corn is usually loaded with white sugar, corn syrup and sometimes molasses.  This caramel corn is plenty sweet, but light at the same time.  For years I made up baskets of baked goods for my husband to give out at Christmas time to groups he did construction work for.  Although there were bags of each item to be shared with everyone, quite often the bag of caramel corn seem to disappear quickly, never to be seen again.  This has been a huge hit for a couple decades, by the young, & young at heart!  

vegan, gluten free, healthy dessert


Caramel Corn

8 quarts air popped popcorn

½ #, (2 sticks) non-hydrogenated soy margarine
2 cups raw sugar
¼ cup honey

1 tsp whole salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Place popcorn in a very large roasting pan.  Measure out the salt & baking soda in a small dish & have the vanilla & measuring spoon ready.  Add the margarine, sugar & honey to a large high sided pan, & bring to a simmer on medium heat stirring very frequently. Increase to med/high stirring constantly until bubbly.  Continue stirring for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat & IMMEDIATELY pour in the vanilla, salt & soda, stir briskly for 20-30 seconds until smoother & creamier looking, then IMMEDIATELY pour onto the popcorn & mix until coated.  It will take 2-3 minutes to mix in evenly, stirring from the outside, down & up the center.  Bake at 200 degrees for 40 minutes, removing from the oven & stirring up every 10 minutes.  Spread out onto overlapping wax paper (covering an area 3 ½ ‘x 2’) until completely cooled.  Store in an air tight container for up to a week. 

WARNING:  Hot caramel really burns.  I recommend wearing oven mitts while stirring the syrup into the popcorn.  The syrup will bubble up when the baking soda is added then quickly hardens, which is why the last couple steps need to be accomplished quickly.   It takes a bit to get the hang of it, but well worth it.  Not to be made in humid weather though; the second it cools it begins to take on moisture.

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