Various ways I know I got it right:
• Jill goes back for seconds
• My students pay attention
• It smells the way my mom’s version does
• Courtney says “oh yes MA’M!”
• I have no trouble falling asleep
• Someone asks “Did you put crack in this?”
I actually read a story some years ago about a restaurant in Japan; it had a cult following, lots of regulars, did fine business. The thing was, no one could really articulate why the restaurant was so popular. Was it their unique culinary offerings? Homey atmosphere? Friendly owners who knew your name & order as soon as you walked in the door?
Nah. It was liquid opium, trace amounts of which the kitchen laced into all of the food, as discovered by the Japanese health inspector.
There aren’t any illegal substances in this caramel corn but it’s so good you’d swear there were. Make it for weekend munching, mail it to your favorite serviceman or woman, take it along to work as a sweet afternoon snack. Be warned, though, if you should chose to share it, there won’t be any left for you.
What I especially like about this recipe is that the caramel isn’t fussy; no candy thermometer necessary here. When the mixture starts to get dark, take it off the heat. It’s really that simple!
8 cups plain popcorn*
1 cup mixed nuts (almonds, pecans, macadamias, peanuts, etc.)
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter
¼ cup clear Karo (corn) syrup
½ T vanilla
plan or sea salt
Combine popcorn & nuts in a large bowl (one that will clean easily). Prepare two baking sheets by either greasing or lining with parchment.
Melt the butter, then add sugar and Karo syrup. Stir regularly until the mixture comes to a boil. Turn down the heat and watch the mixture, stirring occasionally until it takes on a caramel color (10-12 minutes).
Remove the caramel mixture from heat, then stir in the vanilla with a heat-proof spatula. Pour the mixture into the bowl of popcorn & nuts, stirring vigorously until coated (much as you would when making Rice Krispie treats).
Spread the popcorn mixture onto the two baking sheets, then sprinkle generously with salt for a lovely flavor contrast. Let the corn harden before breaking into clumps. Enjoy right away or store for up to a week in an airtight container.
*It’s not required to pop your own popcorn, but it’s so blazing easy, cheap, & delicious, shouldn’t you?