Saturday, January 2, 2016

Easy Snacks: Caramel/Toffee Popcorn

In Baltimore on Eastern Ave. we live near a thrift store...on the same block. Too convenient, because almost on a daily basis I was in there...some days just to look around. It was like a museum. This of course was before the new management took over and well they raised prices...nothing like NY prices though, but still. I recall being in there on one of my excursions and I found this popcorn pot for popping popcorn...It claimed ease and perfect popcorn...almost aluminium type of pot. I took it home and the first time I burned myself on the pot I gave it up and went back to my old faithful heavy metal pot for popping popcorn. However I kept the popcorn recipes that came with the pot. There were so many easy to make recipes...Cheddar, Cheyenne pepper, Bar-b q, herbs and Caramel, you get the idea. I learned that aside from my favorite salty popcorn I could easily add a bit of flair to my go to snack in a snap.
I made toffee and caramel recently for Christmas to fill butter cookies and I still had quite a bit left so I thought I'd just use the technique to Rechel's Toffee popcorn and walla Toffee/Caramel Popcorn M's way!

Toffee Popcorn

Adapted from "Rachel Allen Home Cooking"
This version of Toffee is very liquid and careful. I used the toffee and Caramel from Mich Turner's book because it's thicker and I like the salty flavor of the Caramel better. We tried them and everyone liked the caramel best. See what you and your family or friends like best.

a really large heavy pot with a tight top (clear if you can)
 Large fork
tea or kitchen towel
measuring cups 1/3- 1 c.

Toffee Popcorn
(I use 1 c. popcorn kernels and about 3 Tbsp. or more of oil)

1/3 c. (75 g.) popcorn

2 Tbsp. sunflower oil

1/4 c.(25 g.) butter

For toffee
40 g. brown sugar
1 pinch of salt

To make
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, sprinkle in a kernel or two of popcorn and then coat it evenly in oil. cover the pot listen for the pop. Pour in the rest of the kernels. Cook until the popping "slows" down.  As soon as the popping quiets down, take it off the heat and uncover. Place in a warmed oven in aluminum pan or keep in pot.
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt the butter, add the brown sugar and golden syrup and stir over a high heat for 1-2min.

Tip: half of the popcorn out of the saucepan and toss with 25g. butter and a pinch of salt.
Pour the toffee over the remaining popcorn, replace the lid on the pan and shake to mix the toffee sauce. Pour out into bowls, cool a little and serve.

Salted Caramel-- I love this caramel...honestly the salt can be decreased to half...but it's so good either way! I melted this on low in the microwave because i kept it in the refrigerator. Then I poured spoonfuls of it over every ones bowl...

Makes 1# 2oz.
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
¾ c. (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
⅓ c. plus 2 tsp. golden superfine sugar
4 Tblsp. golden syrup or dark corn syrup
1 to 2 tsp. sea salt to taste
Place all the ingredients in a pan. Heat over a medium heat until the butter melts and continue until the caramel comes to a boil. Cook for 8 to 10 min. until it has thickened and darkened. Transfer to a clean bowl and let cool. Storage keep in  the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Obviously I left out the Brandy for mine...not a fan of Alcohol anyways. Candy Tip: The same rules apply when working with sugar...let the phone ring...stay on top of it ...and watch it...when it looks beige consider stopping the heat and remove from the burner. It will continue to cook and get even darker...

Makes 10 ½ oz.
½ c. golden superfine sugar
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
⅔ c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tblsp. brandy
Preheat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add the sugar with the butter dotted on top. Let heat, melt and caramelize without stirring. Add the cream and stir until it thickens and caramelizes. Let it cool. Stir in the vanilla and brandy;) Storage keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

*cooks note... use a wooden spoon to get the toffee all over the warmed pop corn, if the shaking method doesn't satisfy.

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