Salty Sweet Caramel Corn

I am having the hardest time coming up with main dish recipes lately.  I have had friends over for lunch twice this week, and I think it's safe to say I bored them to tears.

Uh, pancakes?  Uh, soup? 

People see my blog and expect lunch at my house will be exciting.  This week, not so much.

But guess what is exciting at my house this week?


 Halloween is in my bones this year, you guys.

Leaves, costumes, giggling kids, trickery, and the ordinary world turned upside down for a night.

It's probably the closest thing we 'muricans have to a real carnival.

You know, carniVAL.

So I got cotton balls stretched into webs in the corners of my house, with cheap plastic spiders stuck in them.

I got friendly looking goblin posters on the wall for my little boy to point at and practice his best vampire sound.


And I got caramel corn.  Make some popcorn, put your favorite stuff in it, and smother it all in buttery, brown sugar caramel sauce.


All Hallow's Eve, I'm waiting on you!

Salty Sweet Caramel Corn (taken from Joy the Baker.  You guys, I feel lately like I'm just taking Joy's stuff and making it into my own blog.  It's because I bought her cookbook.  And it's wonderful and I use it all the time.  But I feel like I should plug it here because I use it so much, and it's all her hard work.  Joy!)

2 T vegetable oil
1/4 c popcorn kernels
1/2 t salt
1 c almonds
1 1/2 c pretzel sticks
1 1/2 c mini peanut butter sandwich crackers
1 c butter
2 c packed brown sugar
3/4 c light corn syrup
1 t salt
1 t baking soda

You can make popcorn without a popcorn maker.  Did you know?  Popcorn makers are a scam.  Just warm your vegetable oil in a large pan over medium high heat and add in the corn kernels.  Place a lid, slightly ajar, over the pan.  Popcorn will start popping.  Keep an eye on it and take it off the heat when the popping subsides.  Pour popcorn into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.

In a 9x13 inch baking pan, measure 7 heaping cups of the popcorn (pretty much all of it, but avoid the unpopped kernels).  Top it with almonds, pretzels and peanut butter sandwich crackers.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 200 F.

To make the caramel sauce, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Carefully whisk the mixture as it heats and the sugar melts.  Boil it for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the baking soda.  Whisk well.  Carefully pour the sugar mixture over the popcorn mixture.  Use a large wooden spoon to toss them together, coating every piece of popcorn.

Place pan in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, removing to toss the popcorn mixture every 15 minutes.  Once baked, let dry on wax paper.  Or if you're like me, plates.  Eat it up.


M. @ Stuffed Grapes said...

Okay. Someone brought caramel corn to the debate-watching party I went to a few weeks ago. It was amazing, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what at first. It was salty/sweet, but also a bit... spicy!

He added a few pinches of cayenne pepper and it was the perfect complement to the salty/sweet caramel corn.

Also, I love your addition of pretzels and almonds!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Haha - sometimes it's hard for a food blogger to keep up with some expectation from friends aka readers of your blog. My friends just send me requests from my blog when I invite them over... it's easier for me than they expect some spectacular dish is coming from my kitchen. Your caramel corn looks so good. I can enjoy a big bowl of that right now. :)

Anne Regalado said...

I bet your popcorn taste WAY better than mine ! Love the salty-sweet combo so as the 3 yummy additions ! :D Will check her book at our local lib .....

a. maren said...

cayenne pepper! that sounds like the perfect addition! nami that is a great idea...REQUESTS. hmm i'll have to work that one out with friends. and anne i'm sure your popcorn is fantastic! i've seen what you do...