Last week I was having a multi-day hankering for a caramel corn.
I finally caved and used book club as an excuse to make some.
I did a quick search on Epicurious and found this recipe.
Here is my tweaked version (which I also cut in half from the original recipe):
CARAMEL CORN WITH ALMONDS
Nonstick vegetable-oil spray
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup almonds
Pop popcorn with oil and salt. (I have a handy microwave popper that I love). Spray a large bowl and spatula with Pam. Pour popcorn into prepared bowl.
In a large deep pot over moderately high heat, combine the corn syrup, sugar, and a splash of water. Stir to combine.
Cook, undisturbed, until the mixture develops a light amber color, about 10 minutes. (Don't stir the mixture because this can cause it to harden, but it is OK to swirl it in order to evenly distribute the color - a new tip I learned thanks to Epicurious).
Remove the pot from the heat, add the baking soda and butter, and stir continuously to melt the butter and combine the ingredients, about 20 seconds.
Working very quickly (I did not do this quickly enough), pour the caramel over the popcorn and add the almonds, then use the prepared spoon or rubber spatula to stir everything together, trying to evenly coat the popcorn and nuts in caramel.
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spreading out the caramel corn as much as possible. Let cool and harden for about 20 minutes. Break the caramel corn into smaller, bite-size pieces and serve.
I realized after it was too late that my mixing bowl was not big enough. When I poured the caramel on the popcorn and tried to stir it, popcorn ended up all over my table and the caramel stayed in a big lump in the middle.
I liked the recipe, but I need to refine my technique. The caramel kind of reminded me of brittle (as in peanut brittle). I didn't exactly quell my caramel corn craving.
After book club, I brought the leftovers to work. My friend Jackie (who happens to be the Food page editor) suggested this recipe for the next time I'm craving caramel corn:
KILLER CARAMEL CORN
2 bags microwave popcorn, popped
10 large marshmallows
10 tbsp. brown sugar
10 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. baking soda
In microwave-safe bowl, combine marshmallows, sugar and butter. Nuke on high 60 to 90 seconds until marshmallows melt. Stir. Add baking soda and nuke 45 seconds more.
Pour over popcorn and stir to combine.
Be careful. It is molten and will burn. Spread on waxed paper to cool.