04 June 2011

Butter Toffee Popcorn

Wanted to make something easy to eat while playing scrabble with a group of friends.  This may be just a little too easy to eat.  Reminds me of a discussion I had with my sixth graders about the cool toys that used to come in Cracker Jacks when I was a kid.  They had no idea what Cracker Jacks were!

Butter Toffee Popcorn

*Makes about 18 cups of toffee popcorn

1 cup unpopped popcorn kernels, white or yellow
2 sticks butter
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 cups roasted, salted nuts (I used pecans, cashews and almonds)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Grease two large rimmed baking sheets and set aside.
Pop the popcorn kernels, in shifts if needed to ensure your popcorn popper doesn’t burn the popcorn, and place the popcorn in a large bowl, sifting through to remove the unpopped kernels.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When melted add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for 3 minutes. The mixture will be slightly thickened. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will bubble so be careful. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and mix slightly. Add the nuts and mix well but gently (so you don’t break apart the popcorn) until the popcorn is evenly coated and the peanuts are distributed through the mixture.
Turn the popcorn out onto the baking sheets, spreading into an even layer. Bake the popcorn for one hour, stirring and tossing every 20 minutes. Move the bottom tray to the upper rack and vice versa each time you stir. Stir the mixture after removing from oven.  The popcorn will deepen in color and harden a bit as the caramel bakes and sets. Cool the popcorn to room temperature. Store in an airtight container. I’ve found the popcorn will keep, stored tightly, for 1-2 weeks.

Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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