Caramel popcorn wedding favors
i'm getting married in july and am thinking about making caramel popcorn as favors. does anyone have a good recipe for caramel popcorn? and i would like to make it early in batches so that i'm not stuck the week of the wedding making popcorn for a whole day or two. but does anyone know how long it will keep?
Five or so years ago, I became obsessed with the goodness that is caramel corn, and went on the hunt for the best recipe. I tried quite a few versions - and ended up adapting a basic recipe from epicurious (their original is "caramel corn clusters," i think, if you want to search). I find that using coconut oil to pop the corn brings caramel corn to a new level of deliciousness - maybe you will, too. I also like mine a little salty-sweet. Bringing this to parties is always a big hit, and the recipe has been passed on many times. I have definitely had some around for longer than a week... but you have to make sure to keep it as airtight as possible so the popcorn doesn't go mushy and stale - ick. I keep mine in the refrigerator. I wonder if you could vac-seal it with the Foodsaver... it might crush it, though. Anyway, here you go:
• 1/4 cup coconut oil (or less... however you pop your corn)
• 2/3 cup popcorn kernels
• 2 sticks unsalted butter (butter quality really makes a difference since the recipe is so simple!)
• 3 cups packed light brown sugar (I find the organic kind has more flavor so i use that when I can)
• 1 cup light corn syrup
• 2 1/2 teaspoons salt (to taste - it's good saltier too, if you like that kind of thing...)
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 cups chopped nuts as you like, optional
Melt the coconut oil, pour in your popcorn kernels and pop.
Spray a turkey roaster or other large container with cooking spray, or lightly coat with oil or butter (things get pretty sticky). Pour the popped corn into the turkey roaster. If it looks a little full, use two containers - better to have room to stir it all around with the caramel.
Melt butter in a big heavy pot (a saucier is great, if you have one). Add brown sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring, then boil until syrup registers 300°F on a candy thermometer (your grandmother would know how to figure out when it's ready without the thermometer - but this works for me). This will take maybe 10 - 15 minutes. Turn off heat and work quickly - using a wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula, stir salt and baking soda into syrup. (If you want to add some vanilla in there, you could add a couple of teaspoons of extract now... watch out, though, because it spatters) If you're including nuts, stir them quickly into the caramel - then pour the caramel in with the popcorn and stir, stir, stir to coat the popcorn as evenly as possible. Keep stirring - aim for no blobs of caramel on the bottom of the turkey roaster (though some always remain). As the popcorn cools, you can pull and break it into clusters. Yum.
*one warning - make sure to extract any unpopped kernels when you decant the popcorn into the turkey roaster. you don't want them covered in caramel - dental disaster awaits!*
Go to the 12/12/09 post by Orangette at the following link.
You'll find a recipe for caramel corn adapted from DamGoodSweet (David Guas and Raquel Pelzel); it is insanely delicious. And the notes in the post are very helpful.
I made several batches to put in Christmas gift baskets. I never used peanuts as she does, but instead used cashews in some, pecans in some, and a combo of macadamia and cashews in others. I bought raw nuts, so I had to add the step of roasting and salting them, but you could buy them roasted and salted, of course, or you could leave the nuts out altogether--but the salt really adds another dimension.
In an airtight container and dry environment, what I didn't give away was still good a week later; it might have been fine longer--but there wasn't any left after that for me to test. (I bought a tin from Garrett's last summer as a gift, and they told me it would be good for at least two weeks.)
Congratulations! I found this recipe online last year, but I honestly can't remember what site it's from. :(
In any case, it turned out very well. We doubled the recipe and made it for Christmas. In the cold, dry North Dakota weather it was good up until we polished it off, about two weeks. In warmer, damper climates it would likely go stale fairly quickly.
* 7 quarts plain popped popcorn
* 2 cups dry roasted peanuts (optional)
* 2 cups brown sugar
* 1/2 cup light corn syrup
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup margarine (I used butter!)
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place the popped popcorn into two shallow greased baking pans. You may use roasting pans, jelly roll pans, or disposable roasting pans. Add the peanuts to the popped corn if using. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine and salt in a 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.
3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don't worry too much at this point about getting all of the corn coated.
4. Bake for 1 hour, removing the pans, and giving them each a good stir every 15 minutes. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces. Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags.