Caramel/Cheese Popcorn

sweet & salty popcorn

Do you like your sweet with some salty? I do, too. Candy corn and peanuts, butter mints and peanuts, buttered popcorn and plain M&Ms … I could be the Bubba of sweet and salty mixes but I won’t.

Today, I am writing to you about what your Superbowl party needs – no WANTS! The combo of cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn. Have you seen this? I have been seeing this mixture on my grocers’ shelves as of late yet I resisted. What if I didn’t like it? That’s four plus dollars down the drain. Renokulous, RE-DONK-U-LOUS. Yet, I wanted to try it and on my own terms.

Have you ever heard of Oogie’s Gourmet Popcorn? Their White Cheddar Popcorn is “Oh Em Gee” good! If it was a man, I would marry it …maybe a long term boyfriend. Over the holiday’s I won a box of Oogie’s Gourmet Popcorn (more on that in another post coming soon). It has the right amount of tang from the cheese and does not make you feel like you need to go work some calories off at the gym after eating. It’s all natural, too, so no words you can’t pronounce on the ingredients list.

What to use for the caramel corn? I could always buy it and be done with it … no fuss, no muss. That’s just not me, I have the need to dabble in the kitchen and make messes in said kitchen. My catering teacher in high school told me I was a messy cook and I thought to myself, “duh.” Creativity can be messy, embrace it and then make sure you have cleaning supplies nearby or better yet a maid. Sadly, I don’t have the latter.

Luckily, a week ago my mail carrier delivered a new cookbook to me. It’s entitled Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to Make at Home by Nina Wanat. GET THIS BOOK!

It’s beautifully illustrated; the way it is written and recipes are explained you will be a confident confectioner in no time. If you are looking for a gift for that “sweetie” in your life that loves to bake then get them “Sweet Confections”. You want to razzle dazzle a special man/lady in your life on Valentine’s Day with some homemade goodness … get this book! Toffee, Truffles, Fudge, Alcoholic Lollies …GET THIS BOOK!

When you combine Oogie’s White Cheddar popcorn and the buttery sweetness of Nina’s Caramel popcorn together, you have Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.  I combined equal parts of each popcorn into a rather large bowl and then gave it a good “Superbowl Shuffle” and serve.  That’s all I have to say about that (I love the movie, “Forrest Gump”).

A very special thank you to Nina Wanat and her publisher, LARK, for allowing me to re-print the recipe for Caramel Corn.

Until Next Time,

Jennifer

Caramel Corn
by Nina Wanat, Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to Make at Home, reprinted with permission

INGREDIENTS
10 cups popped popcorn, unsalted and unbuttered
1 cup roasted nuts, such as peanuts or almonds (optional)
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar, granulated
2 Tablespoons water
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons corn syrup
1 Tablespoon molasses
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 225F. Pour popcorn and roasted nuts (I optioned out for nuts), if using, into a roasting pan.

Combine sugars, water, butter, cream, corn syrup, molasses, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof silicone spatula, until the mixture reaches 250F.

Remove from heat. Stir in the baking soda, and mix thoroughly ti incorporate.

Pour the syrup over the popcorn, and stir until popcorn is coated. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The caramel corn is done when it’s dry and crispy when cool. Store in an airtight container.