Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Popcorn Ponderings

Have I mentioned that sometimes I really enjoy creative problem solving? Once upon a time when I was doing all of those aptitude type tests, it was supposed to be one of my strengths - and I suppose I use it more often than I know, but for the most part, I think that part of my brain has possibly atrophied from lack of use! Not tonight though - tonight I am solving BIG problems!

Every year I make a super quick and easy Baked Caramel Corn for gift giving. Since it makes a huge batch - the kids decided it was the perfect treat to share with our HomeSchool Co-op tomorrow for our last day before the Christmas break. So much easier than cupcakes - this Momma was so glad that they came up with the idea!

Here's the recipe I have used for years, just in case you'd like to make some too! I found it in the back of a 'college cookbook' but I've long since lost the cover!

Oven Baked Caramel Corn

1 cup real Butter
2 cups Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Corn syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla
6 - 8 quarts Popped Popcorn (air popped works best) in a well greased x-large roasting pan

In a medium saucepan, melt butter; stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then boil, without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in soda and vanilla. Gradually pour over corn, mix well. Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely. Break apart and store in tightly covered containers. HIDE IT if you want any left by morning, or if you plan to give it away - do it soon!!!

It's quite yummy, but I always have had a small problem with the 'crumbs' left at the bottom of the roasting pan when I scoop the yummy wonderful clusters of caramelly goodness into the gift bags. Unless you are not working with all of your teeth, popcorn is not generally something eaten with a spoon - but some types of popping corn don't stand up as well to all of the stirring during baking and they leave a lot of very tasty, but tiny caramel corn crumbs. Not suitable for gift giving. Only edible by spoon. I told you it was a BIG problem, right?

I'd like to announce that I have now solved the once insurmountable issue of the caramel popcorn crumbs!!!! I must give credit where credit is due and thank MyFriendConnie of the Smockity Frocks fame. She recently posted this cute mice idea - which I just had to try! Too fun and super easy - and mmmmmm!!!


Well, after I made the mice I had dribs and drabs of white chocolate, which I used for the eyes, being to lazy to make a bit of icing and put it in my decorator bag - I just grabbed a few white chocolate chips sealed in a heavy duty plastic bag - tossed it in the hot water until it melted and snipped the corner to pipe cute little eyes! I also had some melted milk chocolate leftover since my cherries were pretty tiny.

Inspiration hit when the caramel corn finally cooled and once again I came face to face with the caramel popcorn crumbs - I could make gourmet caramel popcorn crumbs - and I did!

Caramel corn crumb with all of the unpopped kernels carefully removed, lest a tooth be broken - the base. Drizzled with melted milk and white chocolate and sprinkled with mini M&M's. The crumbs clung together nicely and the taste ..... mmmmm!!! It looks so pretty in a gift bag too! I am taking it TOMORROW to it's intended recipients, lest I fall headlong into temptation! If you are wondering - I did carefully hand select just the red and green mini M&M's - I wanted my gourmet mixture to be festive!

I do hope that you are enjoying the true heart of the Christmas season and keeping your eyes on Jesus! When I think about the wonderfully amazing way that God chose to solve the problem of my sin by sending His Son, it makes me sit back in wonder at His unfailing love!

Let me know if you get a chance to make our favorite caramel corn - or the new gourmet version! I bet you'll come up with even better ideas! I thought about stealing a few of the dried cranberries our Dreamer loves, but the bag was almost empty .... oh! the possibilities! I'll never throw out the crumbs again!


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4 comments:

  1. Your mice are absolutely adorable!!! i love them! Your carmamel corn sound terrific!

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  2. Everything looks yummy and I remember making those mice many years ago...so fun! I wish we could have a cup of tea together and visit too. :0) Merry Christmas to you and your family!
    Hugs,
    Kelli

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  3. Hello Heather,
    I have not made that popcorn recipe before. I will try it soon. The mice are cute, but no one here would appreciate them!!
    Too fussy for words!
    KLB

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