Sunday, March 24, 2013

Snow Day and Caramel Popcorn

Everyone loves a Snow Day now and then.  Especially if it means staying home from work or school with a warm cup of hot cocoa and a good book; or in today's world, "snuggling up" with a good story on a Kindle or Nook or on a laptop.  In this high-tech society, I still like to read actual books; although I admit the convenience of virtual books is wonderful too. Do you think books will become an artifact of the past?

Whatever your method of reading, it's nice to have a fun snack.  One of my favorites is caramel popcorn.  This recipe came from my mother-in-law; it turns out every time.

Caramel Popcorn

Pop 5 quarts of popcorn. Remove unpopped kernels.

1 c. margarine, melted
2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. corn syrup (you can use light or dark)
1 tsp. vanilla or other favorite flavoring (sometimes I use hazelnut)
1 tsp. baking soda

Melt the margarine then add the sugar and corn syrup and vanilla.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Then boil for 5 minutes without stirring.  Remove from heat and add the baking soda.  It will bubble up and become frothy at this point.  Immediately pour it over the popcorn. Mix it well; I usually use a long-handled wooden spoon.
Now you have to make a choice.  Are you going to eat it on the gooey side?  Or do you want it drier?  If so, bake it in the oven at 250 degrees for about 45 minutes, turn it over frequently.  Break it apart and store it in an airtight container.  Rumor has it that it is really good for a long time, but we always ate it too quickly to find out.
This makes a fun food gift!  Put it in a decorative tin or jar that you've decorated yourself.
Enjoy!  Ciao!

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