Monday, December 3, 2012

Fancy Caramel Corn

Sadly, it didn't help the Georgia Bulldogs pull off a win Saturday in the SEC Championship game... but it is a yummy treat.  And it's super simple to make!

Fancy Caramel Corn

Start by making about 12 cups of popcorn.  Place in a large bowl and remove unpopped kernels.  It's totally up to you if it's air-popped, done in an old-time popper that uses oil or from the microwave.  Choose according to the taste you want in your finished product.  This time, I used Pop Secret (TM) Movie Theater Style Extra Butter microwave popcorn.

Next, in a medium saucepan, combine 1 cube of butter, 1/2 cup light Karo (TM) syrup (a corn syrup usually found near the maple syrups in the grocery store), enough brown sugar to absorb all the liquid - about 2 well-packed cups.  Bring to rolling boil, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn, and after a few minutes when all of the sugar crystals are completely dissolved turn to med-low so it just bubbles as you stir in 1 tsp vanilla and 1 can sweetened condensed milk.  Stir until smooth and evenly mixed.

Pour appx 3/4 of the caramel over the popcorn and stir to be sure it's evenly coated.

That's the basic caramel corn...

To make it 'fancy' add 2 cups of small pretzels, 1 cup dry roasted salted peanuts and 1 cup miniature marshmallows and gently mix into the popcorn.  Turn this out onto a lightly greased jelly roll pan and spread evenly.  If you want it crispy like Cracker Jacks (TM) place in a warm oven for a bit.  If you like it a little bit soft, move forward with the next step now.

Drizzle remaining caramel over the popcorn.  Melt appx 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips and drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn. You want some blobs where it's thick and some where it's thin with both the caramel and chocolate.  Allow to sit in a cool place until the chocolate sets up.

Store airtight.

It makes a nice gift in a clear bag tied with pretty ribbons or to take as a sweet finger food to a party or function.

Some ideas to switch it up a bit:  Try pecans, almonds or mixed nuts.  Add a handful of M&M (TM) candies or chop up your favorite candy bar (freeze it first and it will chop better).  Add dried fruits like raisins, apples, bananas, pineapple or apricots.  Use white chocolate or dark chocolate or multiple chocolates drizzled separately.  Put colorful cake sprinkles over the top for holiday color.

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