Photo by Steve Snodgrass
Today I got to participate in the creation of 2 new ice cream flavors to be sold for charity at an ice cream shop in the city where I work. I love when my job involves test kitchens. (Almost seems criminal.)
Because I have sweetness on the brain, I bring you a recipe that can be served before a meal, after a meal, or in lieu of a meal at any hospitality event. Taste it and weep.
Baked Caramel Corn
(from The Joy of Serving Others By Pat Ennis, Lisa Tatlock, Dorothy Kelley Patterson)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light or dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 cups popped popcorn
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Prepare 2 shallow baking pans, with sides, by spraying with baking spray or buttering.
Sort popped corn to remove any unpopped kernals. Put in a large container. (I purchased a large plastic dish pan that I save for big mixing projects.) Melt butter in a large sauce pan. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in soda a vanilla. (You’ll get a reaction similar to one of your chemistry labs.) Gradually pour over popped corn, mixing well.
Turn into 2 large shallow baking or roasting pans. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes. Trade oven rack position each time the mixture is stirred.
Remove from oven. Cool completely. Break apart and store in a tightly covered container.
Makes about 5 quarts of caramel corn.
Rumor is, it tastes gourmet.