About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Caramel Candy Corn

Addictive.  That's all there is to it.  Sweet, salty and crunchy and "you can't eat just one."  As a matter of fact it's nearly impossible to stop until it's all gone.  I had a friend's birthday occasion to prepare a "treat" and this hit the spot.  It calls for a bit of attention to detail but well worth it.  This is Stella Parks' version of Cracker Jacks from Bravetart. She is always pitch perfect.
No substitutions, please!  Investing a digital thermometer is a must for best results.

2 tbls refined coconut oil(or neutral oil)
1/4 cup yellow popping corn kernels(Orville, of course)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 tbls unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal preferred)
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup salted dry roasted peanuts

Pop the corn;

Put oil in a 5 quart stainless steel pot over medium heat.  Add 4 corn kernels and wait until they pop, then remove.  Add remaining kernels, cover the pot and shake to coat with oil.  Continue cooking and shaking until the noise subsides and corn has fully popped, 2-3 minutes.  remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, until the steam subsides, about 5 minutes.

Remove the popped corn into a gallon zip lock bag, and wipe the pot clean with a paper towel.  The oil residue  will make it a perfectly greased container for candy making.  Return the popped corn to the pot and save the zip lock bag.  Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, heat to 170 degrees, and place popcorn inside to keep warm; this will ensure a thin even candy coating.

Make the candy coating:

Combine water, corn syrup, butter, and sugar in a 3 quart stainless steel pot over medium heat, and stir with a fork until bubbling, about 4 minutes.  Increase to medium high  and clip on a digital thermometer or hold one carefully in the syrup, and cook, without stirring, until the clear syrup develops a toffee color and registers 345 degrees. Swirl the pan carefully if the syrup starts to color unevenly. Remove from heat immediately.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat (or grease).  Measure salt and baking soda into one ramekin and peanuts in another.  As soon as the syrup is removed from heat, stir in the salt and baking soda with a heat resistant spatula.  Once it begins to foam, add peanuts and stir until well coated.

Immediately pour over warm popcorn  and fold until well coated.  Scrape onto the prepared baking sheet, pulling chunks of pop corn into bite-sized clusters with pair of forks.  Cool until the candy shell is hard and crisp, about 45 minutes

Transfer popcorn to the zip lock bag and stir for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.  Make 9 - cup portions.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful recipe. Thanks for posting. Stella Parks is a wizard.