Update: The Pick Giveaway Winner plugin chose Christi P. as the winner of the Whirly Pop and Coconut Oil. Look for the email I’ve sent you, Christi! I can’t even wait for you to get to try these things. Congratulations!
My Grandma is one of my biggest cooking heroes. She has spent the majority of her life feeding people. My Grandpa, her husband, was a pastor who couldn’t walk away from someone who looked hungry, and everyone looked hungry to Grandpa. I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating that one of my most treasured possessions is my collection of recipe cards handwritten for me by Grandma in my first years of marriage. There is just nothing to compare to road-tested recipes written by the hand of someone you love bigger than the bay. The only drawback? Well, maybe I get just a touch weepy whenever I make her recipes. In other words? I weep a lot.
The recipe I’m sharing today is a holiday staple. I only allow myself to make it from December first through January thirty first because otherwise I’d be the size of a house. We give bags of this to friends, Romans and countrymen. In other other words? We give it to EVERYONE. If you walk near my house in Advent, you’re getting a bag full of Salted Caramel Corn shoved in your hands. It’s just the way we do things, because it’s how Grandma does it.
And since we’re talking about Grandma, let me tell you, she was ahead of her time. Grandma was doing Salted Caramel WAY before anyone else. As in decades. When salted caramel hit the food scene I was all, “What? You mean other people DIDN’T salt their caramel?” Honestly. I was agog. Aghast. Alarmed. Arsey-versey. Shall I stop now? Please say yes. I’m all out of words that mean agape that begin with ‘A’. Oh, no I didn’t. Oh yes, I did… Astounded, awestruck, astonished, amazed…
We were, however, talking SALTED Caramel Corn. On the back of the recipe card, Grandma wrote about the final step of the process, “This is what makes it crisp and it does not stick to your teeth-” I’m neither an orthodontist nor have I played one on t.v., but many of my kids’ braces wearing friends are able to eat this with no issues! If you’re looking for a caramel corn that fits the bill for your favourite dental appliance sporting pals, this is the one!
Think of this as the ultimate in caramel corn. It’s perfectly caramelled (new word. I made it up), just a touch salty, crispy and not at all sticky and is totally simple to make. I promise you many accolades and much affection (more ‘A’ words!) if you make a batch of two of these to give away. Here’s where ‘Make Ahead Mondays’ comes into play. This caramel corn is good for about ten days after it’s made. One batch makes roughly eight quarts. Make a batch, bag it up and give it away for the next few days. If it starts softening a bit, crisp it up in a 250°F oven for a few minutes. This is a room-temperature storage item. You want to spread some joy? ” The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear” AND give them a bag of this stuff. I’m pretty sure Buddy would approve. (My final ‘A’ word.)
If you want to try a sample of this good stuff, I’ll be selling it as a fundraiser for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer at the 26th Annual Arts and Crafts Fair at Houghton College in Houghton, New York tomorrow (Tuesday, December 4th) and Wednesday the 5th. Come on down and see me!
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup butter
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 8 quarts plain (unseasoned, unsalted) popcorn in a very large mixing bowl
- Line 2 half-sheet pans with silpats, parchment paper or non-stick foil. Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, vanilla and salt in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda. It will foam up big time! Don't worry, it's to be expected.
- Pour the molten caramel over the popped corn in the bowl and stir gently but thoroughly to evenly coat the popcorn. Split the popcorn between the two prepared pans and spread it out evenly. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, stirring well every 15 minutes. Grandma says "Watch it closely during baking to ensure it doesn't stick and burn. If it tends to do this, lower the temp a tad. This step is what makes it crisp and it does not stick to your teeth!"
- Let the caramel corn cool on the pan (if it is sufficiently done, you'll hear it crackling as it cools!), then store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Now the GIVEAWAY! This one is sponsored by ME! Just me! No one else! Several years ago, my Aunt Molly sent my family a Whirly Pop. Have you ever heard of one of these? I hadn’t until she sent me one. It is, in short, the ULTIMATE popcorn popper. It’s a funky pan with built in stirring mechanism that makes up to SIX QUARTS of theatre style popcorn in under THREE MINUTES. I’m telling you, this is on the short list of things I would replace the same day if it broke, not that I see it breaking any time soon. Honestly, folks… it has a 25 year warranty on all moving parts. Can you beat that? We’ve put this thing through its paces for almost seven years and it’s still going strong! We seriously use this every. single. day. Sometimes we eat three batches a day! Oh! And you can make the best kettle corn of all time in these bad boys, too!
It is so much more inexpensive and incredibly healthier to pop your popcorn this way. Plain bagged popcorn is FAR less costly than and contains none of the weird, nasty preservatives found in the microwave stuff. You can get away with using much less oil when using the Whirly Pop than you would using a big pot on the stove. It’s pretty much the best way ever to make popcorn.
and ONE JAR OF EXTRA VIRGIN COCONUT OIL.
Believe me, you haven’t had popcorn until you’ve had it popped with coconut oil in a Whirly Pop.
Here’s how to enter! (Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry method you use so each one is counted!)
What’s your favourite popcorn topping? Hot sauce? Plain old salt? Sardines? (What? Could happen!) Nutritional yeast? Talk to me!
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Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by me and paid for by me. Sadly, I can’t ship this package outside of the continental US, so this giveaway is only open to residents of the aforementioned!