My Granny has been unable to join us for Thanksgiving dinner for a couple of years, but we were thrilled to be able to set a place for her at the table yesterday. I have shared with you before that my Granny has been a large influence to my love of cooking and baking. I remember as a child watching Granny and Mom spend hours in a hot kitchen working hard to get a fantastic holiday meal to the table. Oh..those were great days, listening to Mom, Granny and my Grandma talk, laugh and cook together. Three incredibly amazing women!!
There were several times yesterday I became nostalgic and thought back to the many special treats Granny would fix for her five grandchildren to celebrate the many wonderful holidays falling between Halloween all the way through to Superbowl Sunday. I often wish my memory had a recorder that captured every moment that I took for granted as a child. Do you ever wish we could imprint the importance of savoring every moment to our children? We all seem to realize all the "should haves" a little too late. :)
There are many treats that Granny fixed us that I have begun to share with my own kids. One of these special treats that I'm sharing with you today Granny would prepare before Halloween and have on hand every time we were at the farm. She never allowed me to help in the preparation of the Caramel Corn because she was always cautious about the boiling caramel and never wanted any of us to get hurt, but I often stood at the kitchen door and watched with great curiosity as to how she fixed this yummy treat. I asked her several years ago to write the recipe down (so I would have it in her handwriting) and I began to make it for my kids. It's become one of our favorites and it'll be on hand all weekend as we decorate the house for Christmas.
This caramel corn is pretty easy to prepare and makes about 5 quarts of ooey-gooey, caramely popcorn. If you like your popcorn with just a little caramel on each kernel instead of "stick-to-your-teeth" caramel corn, pop an additional couple of quarts of corn for the recipe. Either way, it's delicious and fantastic to munch on during movies, family game night or just sitting by a crackling fire watching the twinkling lights on your Christmas tree. Enjoy!
5 quarts popped popcorn-unbuttered
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1. Heat oven to 225 degrees. Place popcorn in a large roasting pan; set aside.
2. Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, molasses and salt in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until candy thermometer reaches 250 degrees or small amount of mixture dropped in ice water forms a hard ball. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda. The caramel will foam up a little and turn a lighter color when you add the baking soda.
3. Carefully pour hot mixture over the popcorn. Using a wooden spoon, stir until all popcorn is coated. Place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, stir to evenly coat the popcorn. Return to oven. Continue cooking for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Immediately spread caramel corn onto waxed paper. Let cool completely. Break into bite-sized pieces. Store in tightly covered container.
Source: Edna Harris (Granny)