Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Come and Get Your Popcorn

Here at Food'n'Such, I'm all about variety (hence the n'such).  That's why I've decided to offer you a variety of popcorn recipes in two days. That's also why I decided to let my sister, Katie, guest blog. She's our family's popcorn expert...sometimes you have to call in the big guns. You are in good hands, I promise.

Hello, this is Katie. For those of you who don't know me, let me start with what I am not. I am not a chef. I am not a baker. I am, however, great at pouring wine. Does that count??

So, when Molly asked me to write on her blog I was secretly hoping that I'd be asked to cover the "n'such". Not the case. Apparently, I do make a mean caramel popcorn. It's definitely my go-to for parties and gifts. So, I'm hoping others do not swipe this recipe only to give it back to me for Christmas...
I feel that it is important to note that this recipe is straight from a church cookbook. God-fearing women do many things well but they are especially adept at whipping up guilt-ridden treats. Scroll down and you'll soon understand...anything with this much butter does not come guilt-free.

Caramel Corn
1 1/2 c unpopped popcorn
1/2 lb butter or margarine
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 c Karo or white corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

First, pop the popcorn. I use an air popper when I make this recipe but I imagine you could use microwavable popcorn. Just make sure it's plain. This recipe makes A LOT of popcorn so do not be alarmed when you have three bowls of plain popcorn sitting on your counter. Set aside popcorn in large pan(s). I use two roasting pans- like I said earlier, this recipe makes a crazy amount of popcorn and I mean that in the best way possible.

In a medium sized pot, heat butter, brown sugar and white corn syrup. Bring to a boil  for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Remove pot from heat and stir in soda, salt, and vanilla. You'll notice a change in color and consistency while stirring. The caramel mixture will become a much lighter brown and almost fluffy in consistency. Pour the caramel mixture over popcorn in the large pans and mix well, spreading the caramel evenly over the popcorn.

Once its completely coated, place the pans in a 250 degree oven for 40 min stirring every 10 minutes. This will ensure that your popcorn comes out perfectly coated and evenly baked. Remove from the oven and move popcorn into a large brown paper bag or several large plastic bags. I like using ziploc bags because they are easy to shake up and will keep your popcorn fresh without moving it from one container to another. 

Trust me this caramel corn is worth the effort! It was even requested by one of Food'n'Such's faithful readers. 

Ok. So maybe you don't have 40 minutes of your life to dedicate to making caramel corn? Or, are you are so hungry at this moment that you need a quick fix- FAST?! I find myself in this predicament often. In these cases, I whip up a batch of kettle corn. It's super quick, super simple and requires 4 kitchen staples. Love it!

Kettle Corn
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1/2 cup peanut oil (This is really important. The peanut oil heats to the right temperature and allows the sweetness to come through. Other oils get distracting. The first time I tried this recipe, I used a mixture of sesame oil and olive oil- it was like gnawing on burnt sesame bagels.)

In a large pot heat peanut oil over med-high heat with 3-4 popcorn kernels. You'll know the oil is ready once the kernels have popped. In the meantime, combine the sugar and unpopped kernels together. This will help to better coat the kernels while popping. Once your oil is ready, add the sugar and kernel mixture and shake it like a polaroid picture. Make sure that the sugar and popcorn are spread evenly throughout the pan to keep the sugar from burning. Cover the pot and continue to shake. Listen until most of the kernels have popped and remove from heat. 

At this point you could do a number of things to add salt. I prefer to pour the popcorn into a bowl and then add it. The original recipe suggests a large brown paper bag. Or hell, you can add it while you eat. Just make it salty. You cannot have kettle corn without the dynamics of sweet vs. salty. Its a fact. Ask The Church Lady. Or Kate Gosselin...


Anne said...

OH YEAH!!! Thanks, Katie! This made my day. I can't wait to share it with everyone down South. You rule.

Anne said...

I also want to include that I've had this delicious treat cooked by the non-expert and blog owner Molly. She was a little off on the timing so she didn't bake it as long and it was still delicious and very chewy and wonderful. So if you underbake... it is still wonderful.

Constance said...

Yum! My favorite Blackley treat! Maybe after the Toll House chocolate chip cookies. Or your mom's kolaczkis. Does it count that I requested this recipe a year ago on Facebook? As a person who cooks for one, the recipe works fine cut in half. And keeps for about a week in a ziploc bag. I like your guest post, Katherine. I will stop checking "kickin with" everyday for updates now.

mcm.hannah said...

think makes me want to make carmel popcorn tonight! I think I will! Rememebr my dad used to make that for us all the time?

Anne said...

So - I finally tried this much anticipated recipe tonight - and I had a really hard time spreading the caramel over the popcorn... is that normal? Did I boil the sugar/butter mixture too long??? Help!