Monday, February 21, 2011

Homemade Crunch and Munch Caramel Nut Popcorn

A wonderful popcorn treat that is delicious made fresh at home - popcorn tossed in a buttery caramel toffee coating with your favorite nuts, what is not to love about that?!

Homemade Crunch and Munch

Way more than Cracker Jack, way more than dark Caramel Corn, Butter Toffee Popcorn - or more specifically Crunch and Munch - has always been my love. What sets Butter Toffee apart from Caramel Corn? I don't really know! I know a lot of people simply call this Caramel Corn, but to me Caramel Corn has a much deeper, richer molasses flavor and is darker in color. Butter Toffee popcorn, is more brown sugar buttery, and lighter in color than Caramel Corn to me. But, that's just me, because The Cajun just calls this Caramel Corn. I can tell you one thing that we agree on about it. It is addictive!

Okay, so it's true there's a little work behind this snack, and yes, it makes a mess that requires you soak a few pots too, but it is so very worth it. Some recipes add baking soda and vanilla, but I don't know why, and I really don't find the recipe needs either. I also know that some people make this using bags of microwave popcorn, but I have kinda gotten into the habit of popping corn fresh on the stove top and really enjoy the whole process. To me, it just tastes better, plus I like adding in my own real, pure butter right into the cooking process too. Besides, there was that whole microwave popcorn health scare thing. Oh you didn't know about that? Me either, well, not until after the fact anyway, but that's a whole 'nother post.

If you prefer to skip that step, you can certainly substitute microwave popcorn. Most standard size microwave popcorn brands will yield somewhere between 3-1/2 to 5 cups of popcorn, so you would need somewhere around 4 bags. One-half cup of raw popcorn kernels will yield about 4 quarts (16 cups) of popped popcorn, so you can see as with most packaged products, it is much more economical to use raw kernels.

This recipe makes what I consider to be one batch, meaning it pops well in my smallest stainless Dutch oven, the pot that I like to use for popcorn. It's  about 4-1/2 quarts in size. Certainly do as many batches as you like! I'm not gonna say how many we went through over the weekend.


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Recipe: Homemade Butter Toffee Caramel Nut Popcorn

From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 1 hour | Yield: About 4 quarts

Ingredients

For the Popcorn:
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of raw popcorn kernels
  • Large pinch of kosher salt
For the Caramel Nut:
  • 3 cups of nuts (peanuts, pecan halves, cashews, almonds, walnuts, or any combination)
  • 1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar, packed well
  • 1/2 cup of light Karo corn syrup
Instructions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray; set aside. Melt a half stick (1/4 cup) of unsalted butter for later; set aside.

Prepare the popcorn by heating the oil, then adding the 2 tablespoons of butter, along with the raw popcorn kernels. Pop, then salt and toss; set aside. Meanwhile, for the caramel, melt the stick (1/2 cup) of butter in a large saucepan, add the brown sugar and corn syrup, and using a wooden spoon, stir constantly, bringing mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to between medium and medium high and allow to boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Quickly and carefully pour the brown sugar mixture over the top of the popcorn and stir immediately to distribute, adding the 1/2 stick of melted butter while stirring. Turn out onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake at 250 degrees F for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Stir, transfer to a cool baking sheet to dry and set. Delicious served slightly warm. Store in an airtight container.

Cook's Notes: You get far more bang for your buck using homemade popcorn as above, but you can substitute microwave popcorn if you prefer. Most standard size microwave popcorn brands will yield somewhere between 3-1/2 to 5 cups of popcorn, so you would generally need about 4 or 5 bags.

Variation: Make it more like Cracker Jack by substituting half dark Karo syrup, with half molasses or pure cane syrup, and using dark brown sugar.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on February 21, 2011
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10 comments:

  1. I was just looking for a recipe like this...thank you as always...and have a sweet week, hugs, Flavia

    ReplyDelete
  2. I adore popcorn done up like this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have such a weakness for popcorn and have always been a carmel corn freak. I would call this carmel corn simply because I've never had a molasses type recipe. Looks wonderful Mary.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That sounds delicious, but I have to confess, it's way more work than I would put forth! My bad.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Mary! Wow...this recipe brings back childhood memories! I'm bookmarking it so I can make some for our school bake sale. The kiddos would love this! Thanks!

    BTW...I just started a new Monday Blog Hop called "Melt in your Mouth Monday." C'mon over and link up! :)

    http://www.makeaheadmealsforbusymoms.com/melt-in-your-mouth-monday/

    Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  6. oh yum, mary!! this looks right up my alley, anne

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  7. Oh boy Mary I wish I could still eat the caramel nut popcorn cause yours looks yummy. There was a time when I did and boy don't let fingers get in way, one might just come up missing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. wow! looks delish! great idea!

    ReplyDelete

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