Honey Caramel Corn | Food + Drink Features | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Honey Caramel Corn

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Popcorn is one snack I've had ready access to all month, because we bought a gallon jug of locally grown popping corn at the Intervale "eat local" kickoff party in late July. I'm glad we did: it cooks quickly, so if you arrive home ravenous, hunger can be staved off long enough to come up with a game plan for cooking an actual meal. Even though we've had it every two or three days, the container is still two-thirds full!

Gahlord and I tried this localvore version of dessert popcorn a few nights ago, inspired by my friend Mandy's tales of homemade junk food. It's easy to make, and really good!  It pays to be a bit careful not to overcook the caramel, but other than that, you really can't go wrong.

Ingredients:

— 1/2 cup popping corn
— olive oil and/or butter for popping
— 2 tablespoons butter
— 1/4 cup honey
— salt to taste

Put the honey and 2 T butter in a saucepan on the stove, over high heat. You may want to add a little bit of salt at this point (under 1/4 teaspoon?), especially if you're using unsalted butter. Make sure your saucepan holds at least 5 or 6 cups, since the honey will bubble up quite a bit. Meanwhile, pop the popcorn, and dump it into a big bowl. We have a stovetop popper, and it usually takes about 4 to 5 minutes to cook one batch. If your popping method will take longer, either put the honey mixture on lower heat, or wait until the popcorn's done to cook the caramel.

Popcorn in the bowl? All righty. Now, keep stirring the boiling, bubbling honey-butter caramel until it seems thick enough — about 3-4 minutes. I dipped a chilled spoon into it and when it was thick enough to coat the back, I considered it done. Remember, it will harden once it cools. Working quickly, drizzle the caramel over the popped popcorn, scraping out the pan. Toss the popcorn-caramel mixture with two spoons or your hands, until all of the popcorn is evenly covered with caramel.


Better than Crackerjack!
This stuff is pretty great, but I think the one improvement I would make using non-local ingredients would be to add toasted peanuts, almonds and pecans. And maybe a wee plastic prize.

Enjoy! Any leftovers can be pressed into snowball-sized popcorn balls and wrapped in wax paper for later.


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