January 5, 2014

Gingerbread Caramel Corn

I've said before that caramel corn is completely addictive to me as an adult. This holiday version from Piece of Cake is no different. Well, it is different because it's Gingerbread Caramel Corn, but I still can't stop munching on it.

This is perfect for gifts, movie night or munching while wrangling two little boys all day.

Gingerbread Caramel Corn
8 to 9 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup corn syrup
2 heaping Tbsp. molasses
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
A few pinches of finely ground black pepper
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking sheet. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl, and set aside.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, corn syrup, molasses and salt. Stir gently to combine. Bring the syrup to a boil over high heat—once the syrup is boiling, stop stirring. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of a pan and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the syrup until the temperature reaches 200°F.

When the syrup is up to temperature, pull the pan from the heat, and remove the thermometer. Stir in the baking soda and vanilla—the syrup will foam up a bit. Stir in the butter until smooth and then the spices. Quickly pour the syrup over the popcorn in a thin, steady stream. Use a heatproof spatula to toss the popcorn to coat.

Spread the coated popcorn into an even layer on the baking sheet, and bake for about 60 to 70 minutes, stirring well every 15 minutes or so. At the end of the baking time, the caramel corn will still be a bit tacky, but will crisp and dry as it cools. Let cool completely on the baking sheet, and store in an airtight container. Makes about 9 cups caramel corn.

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