Friday, May 18, 2012

Pop Corn

At my mother’s yesterday, I had a mix of different popcorns that I would have never thought of, but the mix was wonderful.  It was a mix of buttered popcorn, caramel corn and cheese corn.  The sweet, cheesy, salty mix was addictive.  It got me to thinking about all the different ways I’ve fixed popcorn.  At Christmas time, I have made a white chocolate mix that I given out as gifts.  I also have made a dark chocolate mix that I’ve given as gifts.  So today, I thought I’d share some ideas for popcorn and for gift giving. 

Caramel Corn

7 cups popped popcorn (or one microwave popped bag)
¾ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp vanilla

Optional Add-Ins:

1 cup M&Ms
1 Cup peanuts or mixed nuts
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Pop the popcorn and pour into a 9×12 glass baking dish.

In a small saucepan, mix the sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Use a candy thermometer and bring the caramel mixture to 250 degrees.

Remove from heat.  Stir in the baking soda and vanilla.  Pour caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir.

Bake in 300 degree oven for 5 minutes. Stir and bake for another 5 minutes.

Pour mixture on parchment paper or aluminum foil and cool completely before mixing in any add-ins.  Store the mixture in air tight container.

Variation:  If you want to make it even more decadent, melt semi sweet chocolate chips and drizzle it over the caramel corn and then decide what if anything you want to add to the mix.

Mom’s Popcorn Balls

A wonderful childhood memory of mine was helping make popcorn balls.  This is my mother’s recipe that I have on an old yellowed recipe card that I’ve saved for over 40 years.  I can remember us helping her make them.  We would all wet our hands with cold water so we would not burn ourselves when we touched the hot syrup and squeeze hard to form the balls. 

1 cup sugar
1 tbs. vinegar
1 cup white Karo syrup
Large bowl of popped popcorn  (I now use 4 bags of microwave popcorn, but mom would never do that)

Pop the pop corn and salt to taste .  Mix sugar, vinegar and syrup and boil mixture until syrup forms a hard ball in cold water  (Test is take a drop of the hot mixture and put in tablespoon of cold water.  If it turns to a hard ball the mixture is done)   Pour hot mixture over the pop corn.  Make sure you have a bowl of cold  ice water next to the hot mixture.  Place your hands in the water and them take handful of popcorn mixture and form a ball.  You will want to let cool just a bit.  Do not press too hard put hard enough to keep balls together.  Put your hands in the cold water each time you form a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap after balls have cooled.  Makes over 12 small balls.

White Chocolate Popcorn Mix

1 bag of microwave buttered popcorn
2 cups pretzels
2 cups of Rice Chexs
1 can of mixed nuts
1 bag of Nestle’s white chocolate
1 bag of small M & Ms 

Pop your pop corn and put in a large bowl.  Add you pretzels, Chexs, nuts and mix carefully not to crush the mixture. 

Melt you white chocolate in a double boiler and pour over your mixture and toss until it is well coated.  Turn out onto parchment paper and spread it out so it does not stick together.  Once cool, and your M & Ms and store in an air tight container. 

You can go wild on what you add to this mix.  This makes a great Christmas gift.

Chocolate Butterscotch Popcorn

3 bags of microwave buttered popcorn
1 bag of Nestle’s Butterscotch chips
1 bag of Nestle’s Semi Sweet Chocolate chips
2 cups of salted peanuts

Pop your popcorn and place in a large bowl.  Set aside.  In a double boiler, melt your chocolate and butterscotch chips.  Pour over the popcorn and stir until it is all coated.  Lay out on parchment paper and spread out so it does not stick together.  Once it has hardened, put in an air tight large bowl and add your peanuts or mixed nuts if you like.  This makes a wonderful gift and take it to a party as an offering. 

Hope this has given you some ideas on how to add lots of love to your popcorn and to share it with others. 

I'm sorry I could not share any pictures today.  The image insert feature does not seem to be working in blogger.  Will try again tomorrow.

Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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