Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Years and Caramel Corn

Happy New Year!

We brought in the new year at a friends place and (I never thought I’d say this) it was great not to host!
This year, I had vowed not to overdo things, since last year I exhausted myself with a New Year's Eve party AND a New Years brunch, not to mention caring for a newborn.Uh.

I remember clearing scads of wine glasses off my table at 3 in the morning -just a fraction of the clean-up- and thinking I had to be up by 7 AM if I wanted to shower before getting started on the two different kinds of scones I was making, among many other things.

Never again!

So I made a few batches of caramel popcorn and brought that to the party. It was a hit and the high sugar content fueled people with more energy for dancing.

Caution: it’s highly addicting!

Caramel Pecan Popcorn

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup kernels
2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons canola oil
2 cups pecan, lightly toasted
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

  1. Preheat oven to 250F. Butter 2 rimmed baking sheets; set aside. Place corn kernels and oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; cover. Once kernels begin to pop, shake pot frequently; when popping slows to about 3 seconds between pops, remove from heat; uncover. Transfer to a large bowl. Add nuts and toss.
  2. Cook sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until it reaches 255degrees.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in extracts, salt, pecans, and baking soda. Pour over popcorn mixture; toss to coat. Divide between baking sheets. Bake, stirring occasionally, 1 hour 20 minutes. Let cool on wire racks. Popcorn can be stored in airtight containers up to 1 week.


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