Crazy Caramel Corn
I have a problem with not being able to fully relax and do nothing while I'm on a break. Whether it's a craft or an outdoor landscape project or painting the walls, I find that when I come home, I always busy myself with something. It's not like I can't not take a break, I just don't really want to take a break.
This current break is no exception. I decided to do my most ambitious landscape/gardening project yet.
I first thought it was an excellent idea to move over 1,500 pounds of rocks by myself with a shovel and a wheelbarrow. The "funny" thing about this is that the wheelbarrow has a flat tire. I didn't discover this until after I filled it with a hefty batch of rocks (I can already hear the song "Ironic" playing in my head).
Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that I can be incredibly stubborn. So of course I decided to push the wheelbarrow with the flat tire (which easily was twice my weight) over to my designated rock pile.
Did you know that wheelbarrows with flat tires don't move? Like at all. Let's just say it took awhile.
Five hours and a sore back later, I had successfully moved all the rocks and even covered the garden plot with that plasticy stuff that is supposed to keep the weeds down.
I even made a new friend. I called him Boris.
To celebrate my inability to just chill out, I made caramel corn.
This stuff is legit. Sweet, salty, crunchy, caramely.
It's basically all of the best things in life sandwiched (or caramelized...) together.
I got the recipe from my Joy the Baker Cookbook. Joy uses almonds, pretzels and mini cheese (or peanut butter) crackers in hers. For my mix-ins I used some ingredients I had in the house that I thought would be tasty. I encourage you to get creative with various snack foods though. I really think anything small and crunchy can be used (nuts, cereals, small cookies, graham crackers, etc.).
I used Peanut Butter Cheerios and some crushed chocolate cookies that I got from Trader Joes (they are like Oreos without the creme) because I love the peanut butter and chocolate combo.
Crazy Caramel Corn
Makes about 6 cups
For the popcorn mixture:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup popcorn kernels (any color works)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup Peanut Butter Cheerios (or any other small cereal)
- 3/4 cup pretzels (I used pretzel nuggets)
- 3/4 cup broken chocolate graham cookies (or any other small cookie/graham cracker)
For the caramel:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 plus 1/8 cup light corn syrup (a bit more than 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1. To make the popcorn mixture: in a large pan over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add the corn kernels and place a lid, slightly ajar, over the pot. Pop the popcorn until the popping sound stops. Turn off the heat and carefully pour the hot popcorn into a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt.
2. Place a large piece of foil over a 9 x 13-inch pan (enough to lift the popcorn out later), measure 4 heaping cups of popcorn (avoid the unpopped kernels). Top popcorn with cereal, pretzels, and cookies (doesn't it sound amazing already?)
3. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F (Joy did hers lower at 200°F, but I misread her directions and mine still came out wonderfully).
4. To make caramel: combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Carefully whisk the mixture as it heats and sugar melts. Boil the sugar-butter mixture for 3-1/2 minutes (I did not mix it). Remove from heat and add baking soda Whisk well. Carefully pour sugar mixture into the 9 x 13 pan with the popcorn. Use a large wooden spoon to toss it all together. Make sure the caramel coats all of the popcorn mixture. Be very careful, it's super hot.
5. Place pan in oven and bake for 15 minutes (Joy did hers for 45 min, turning it every 15, but once again, I did it differently and mine was still great). Once baked, remove from oven. Pull the popcorn out with the aluminum foil and let dry completely. Once dry, store in an airtight container. Popcorn will last up to 1 week.