Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry and Bright

It's a beautiful day here in the Upper Midwest.  Temps are just above freezing, making the roads slushy, but the sun is bright and glimmering on the freshly fallen snow.  A good day for enjoying the view from the kitchen window and stirring up a batch of caramel corn! 

I've made caramel corn at Christmastime for many, many years, as it makes a great gift for coworkers and friends.  And since I've gotten a few recipe exchange emails lately (which I won't be forwarding but appreciate the sentiment), I thought I'd share this recipe here with you today.  

It's one of those tried-and-true, easy recipes that came from a friend's mom who made the best caramel corn I'd ever tasted.  This was back in the early '80s, when I had better handwriting but my college-educated self apparently could not spell the word "caramel."    

I spelled it like we say it here in Wisconsin:  'CAR-mel.

We also say things like "Oh, yah" and "Hey, dere."  I'm just sayin'...*

Anyway, popcorn.  You need two big batches of unsalted popcorn.  I use an air popper and fill up my turkey roaster.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Then, in a saucepan over medium heat, melt a stick of UNsalted butter and a stick of margarine with 2 cups of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of dark Karo syrup, and 2 teaspoons of salt.  When this starts boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue boiling it for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in a scant 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. 

That's the fun part, because it gets all foamy.  Yah hey, it does.  Okay den.

Pour the caramel mixture over the corn and give it a stir.  Don't get too crazy with the stirring though, because you don't want to crush the corn kernels.  Go easy dere, hey.

Put it in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes.  You're going to take it out and stir it every 15 minutes for an hour.  The stirring spreads the caramel throughout so the popcorn gets coated evenly during the hour that it bakes.

Wait once.  We have to put some wax paper down on the table while it's baking.  This is where we're going to dump it to cool after it comes out of the oven.

I use a little dab of glue stick to keep my sheets of waxed paper from shifting.  Don't worry, it says it's nontoxic.  And it's not like it hasn't been taste-tested by thousands of kindergartners all over the world anyway.

After the fourth and final stir, immediately dump the caramel corn onto the waxed paper and spread it out to cool. 

Then eat!  Or, bag it up and give it away.  Or freeze it (we Wisconsinites call that putting it out in da garage).

*I have never used "dese, dems, and dose" in conversation, nor did my parents.  I'll never forget the comment of my first boss, who said one of the reasons he hired me was because I could "speak the King's English."  (That's Wisconsinese for "articulate.")  Saying "Yah," however, is another matter...


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

LOL - I say car - mel the same way I guess that is my WI upbringing :) I have kept a lot of the way I pronounce words over the years and still get some weird looks now and then - less though over the years as more people from the north come south :)

Pokey said...

You had me smilin' all the way through, P. And Christmas is perfect with some homemade car-mel corn, yum!
Thanks for the share:-}pokey

Anonymous said...

So enjoyed your car-mel corn tutorial;-) Hope to make some before the weekend is over.


Vicki @ DottyJane said...

I say car-mel, too! I also let a long "oh" sound slip once in a South Dak-oh-ta.

I may have to try the car-mel corn since I've never made it. Looks pretty yummy:)

Sarah Craig said...

Oooh, that's a delicious-looking recipe!! I'll have to give it a try!

And my pronunciation problem is more southern - how do YOU say pecan? Do you say PEE-CAHN, or PUH-CAN, or PEE-CAN? Is the accent on the first syllable, or the last? It's so confusing..... ;-)

Shay said...

Laughed so hard at the Wisonsin-ese. Aussies say caramel.

However it's said that caramel corn looks delicious. I'll have to see if I can get corn syrup here...

C said...

Yummy! That looks so good however you say it.

SueWis said...

I laughed when I saw your handwritten Carmel. But yah that's how I say it. I also add the word "so" at the end of a sentence, so. Do you do that?

Elizabeth said...

I say caramel the same way too. That extra a in there is just weird. Loved your fun post. The bit about Kindergartners taste testing the glue was funny and the commercial was great. Thanks for sharing.

xo -El

Kathy said...

Hey den, I am so glad yous clarified dat da glue goes on the BOTTOM of da wax paper! Ya had me goin' dere for a minute.

P.S. We meet the second Saturday in January. Any chance there will be some caramel corn left for you to share with us?

fromsophiesview said...

Popcorn is the right kind of food for EVERYONE...seriously! Happy Holidays!

Jane said...

I love caramel corn!! My mom gave me a microwave recipe that is really good and you have definitely motivated me to make some tomorrow!!
Have a wonderful Holiday!!