Monday, October 22, 2012

OVEN CARAMEL CORN FROM PAULA DEEN

7 to 8 quarts popped popcorn
2 cups unsalted peanuts, shelled pumpkin seeds, and/or sunflower seeds
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon maple-flavored pancake syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Spray rimmed cookie sheets or jelly roll pans with vegetable oil cooking spray.
  2. Place the popcorn and your choice of nuts and/or seeds into a very large bowl.  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt, syrups, and vanilla.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue boiling for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and add the baking soda.  The mixture will bubble up.  Stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour the hot syrup over the popcorn mix.  Stir until the popcorn is coated.  This is messy; take your time and use a long-handled spoon.
  4. Spread the coated popcorn in the prepared pans.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring several times.  The mixture will be very sticky.
  5. Remove the popcorn from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Break big hunks apart while the mixture is cooling.  When cooled, the sugars will have candy-coated the popcorn.  Store in large airtight plastic containers.
Ms. Deen suggests placing approximately 2 cups of this mixture in a clear bag and tying with a decorative ribbon for gift-giving.


Linda's personal note:  Your very large bowl should be heatproof.  Pouring the hot syrup into a plastic or Tupperware bowl could ruin your bowl.

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