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  • Writer's pictureSusie Csorsz Brown

Kids can cook: Caramel Corn

Yes, our top-of-the-heap recipe is candy. Why? Because making your own candy is tricky. Combining fat and sugar and applying heat creates a mysterious math equation that usually ends up where it needs to but sometimes other elements (read: humidity in the air) can add a weird layer.


Still, Caramel Corn is gooood and it's worth the effort.


For this recipe, you'll need a couple special pieces of equipment. The first, a kitchen thermometer. You need one that reads temps fast and can go quite high.


Second, you'll need a big roasting pan. You can also bake the popcorn on baking sheets or in 9 x 13 smaller batches but a big sturdy roasting pan (like what you might bake a turkey in) is your best bet.


Pay attention to the temps. Pay attention to the super sticky hot caramel. Have your ingredients ready. These are all keys to success.


Grand Slam Honey Caramel Popcorn


Yield: 2 1/2 pounds (about 6 quarts)

Ingredients


12-13 cups air-popped popcorn (and 2/3 cup unpopped corn)

2 1/2 cups dry-roasted peanuts


Caramel mixture


1/3 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt


Directions


Make popcorn and set aside.


Preheat oven to 250. Lightly grease a large roasting pan. Pour popped popcorn and peanuts into pan. Place pan in oven to keep corn warm while you make the caramel.


Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter, and then add sugars, honey, corn syrup. Stir, allowing mixture to come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and boil gently without stirring about 3 minutes (or until mixture registers 265 F on a candy thermometer - soft ball stage.


Remove from heat. Carefully, add the vanilla (careful, it'll splatter). Stir together baking soda and salt. Add to caramel mixture.


Slowly pour caramel over popcorn. Stir and toss to coat as best you can.


Bake, tossing and shuffling corn every few minutes for about 20 minutes. Take it out, and gently toss it to stir. Bake for 20 more minutes.


Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour. Break into serving size pieces. Keeps for about three days.


You may freeze cooled caramel corn on large baking sheets (this will keep it crisp and reduce clumping). Once frozen, place portions in PAPER bags and store in freezer.

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