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Malawry

Caramel Popcorn

106 posts in this topic

I think mine turned out so dark because I used dark brown sugar...I didn't have any light brown sugar around...plus I used the full amount of molasses. It was never hard to stir, not even the first time like Jaymes said, and the caramel was this dark color when I poured it on the popcorn. It didn't darken a lot in the oven, and I don't think I baked it at too high a temperature.

There's only one thing to do: make it again with light brown sugar. Sigh.  :angry:  :wink:  :biggrin:

But Malawry, it never turns out "sticky" so you have to pull it apart, like you said.

I really think what you're after is more like the popcorn ball recipes. Those do stick together (obviously, I guess it goes without saying, since it has to form a ball), and you DO have to pull it apart to eat it, or just bite into the ball.

My recipe never turns out sticky. You just put it in a bowl or something and pick up bits of it and munch.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I know it's not exactly what you were asking for, but today's NYT has an article about perfecting the popcorn ball:

Sugar Sweet, and Heavy on the Crunch

Thanks for the link Rachel.

Could be perfect timing. Malawry is looking for something a little sticky.

Jaymes was saying the ball shaped stuff could be sticky.

I saw the photograph to the above link... and definitely was ball shaped. But it had rice in it too.

But Malawry, it is worth your time to check it out. Who knows.. could be what you are looking for...

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Just read that article about Popcorn Balls.

She begins by disparaging regular caramel corn (that would include Cracker Jacks, Crunch 'n Munch, Fiddle Faddle et al) as being a snack "not worth eating." -- Oooooh, my very favorite thing... Someone whose style of telling you what they like always seems to begin with first running down something/someone else. :hmmm:

But the recipe does look good. I may try it. Fortunately for me (unlike the author of the piece) I have room in my repertoire and fondness for MANY different recipes and types of caramel treats. :rolleyes:

And Malawry - that recipe looks more like what you were looking for when you said you wanted something sticky, that you had to "pull apart with your hands."


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I did indeed have caramel popcorn as part of my corucopia dessert at the Javitts. Malawry was unavailable to assist since it was a school day but Edemuth was there to help me out. (thanks again Edemeth :smile: )

I was planning to demo my varamel popped corn but did not have the opportunity because of the structure of our demo. My approach is much different (and simpler) than the one Jaymes described.

I place about 300g of sugar and just a bit of water in a heavy saucepan (that has a cover with it) and cook it to soft ball, I then toss in about 1/3 cup unpopped popcorn kernels and stir them around. They will suddenly start blossoming just at the caramel stage. At this point for your own self protection you will want to put the top on and start madly shaking the pan around. When it stops making popping noises you open up, stir the corn around a minute or two to deepen the caramel color and pour our onto a sheet pan. If you do not move it around until it hardens it will stick together in big clumps than you need to break up. Then you can toss in a handful of nuts or whatever if you want. You could even caramelize them along with the corn in the first place.

Of course I did just make this up one time since I wondered what would happen if I tried caramelizing popcorn kernels in the same manner that I would caramelize almonds. Since I have never really been much of a popcorn fan, I did not even think to make popcorn first than caramelize it. The trick is to not put too much corn in the pot. For more caramel and a richer darker color use less corn (say 1/4 cup). This makes a bowl full and is fast and easy. After getting hit in the face with flying hot caramel coated corn though I had to resort to using the cover.


Edited by chefette (log)

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Hummm.. Veeeery interesting. Must try. :rolleyes:

And it'd be better for you - no butter.

No butter??


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Broke, exhausted after a day shopping at the Very Upscale Mall(Oakbrook), His Handsomeness and I were talking about all those we *still* had no present for. Saith he:

"I'll buy some tins tomorrow and you make more of that eGullet Lady's caramel corn. Everyone will like that!"

Thanks, girlfriend! I will.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Chefette, I'm so glad you finally explained the caramel corn part of your dessert demo! I was wondering ... and now, to find out it's that simple!! Thanks. :biggrin:

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No butter and no mixing an unweildy mass of popped corn and hot caramel?! I have to try this, just for the experiment value.

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We made Jaymes's caramel corn last night (okay, Laurie did most of the work, although I got to stir a few times), and it is a treat. I've just finished bagging it up to give as gifts at work, which was fun because I kept missing the bag and being forced to eat the sugar-napped corn and pecans that spilled on the counter.

Next time I think a little cayenne pepper would be great. The only danger here is that I'm going to start confusing Jaymes's carnitas and caramel corn recipes and try to pop pork.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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OK, I made Jaymes's Caramel Corn this evening. Everyone is correct--what a good recipe--thank you so much, Jaymes! Those clear instructions are a gift. What a treat and fun to make.

I used peanuts in this batch, for a Cracker-Jacksy flavor profile, because some of it I'm bringing to my Mom and she's got a lot of nostalgia for how Cracker Jacks tasted when she was a little girl. I predict she'll be pleasantly surprised.


Priscilla


Writer, cook, & c.


● observing #TacoFriday since 2010 ● preoccupied with road trippin' ● always ISO of the next #truckgram


Twitter Instagram  Orange Coast Magazine

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OK, I made Jaymes's Caramel Corn this evening.  Everyone is correct--what a good recipe--thank you so much, Jaymes!  Those clear instructions are a gift.  What a treat and fun to make.

I used peanuts in this batch, for a Cracker-Jacksy flavor profile, because some of it I'm bringing to my Mom and she's got a lot of nostalgia for how Cracker Jacks tasted when she was a little girl.  I predict she'll be pleasantly surprised.

Priscilla, I took Jaymes caramel corn to a friend and she was taken back into time. She was thrilled. I will have to make more. It is indeed a great recipe.

I will actually, also try Chefettes recipe, the caramel pop corn chefette made in Javits Center was superb.

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What type of pan did people use. Jaymes uses a large shallow pan or a big stainless steel bowl. I have neither - I do have two cookie sheets - could I use those. Or I was thinking about getting a large disposable roaster pan - would that work?

johnjohn

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What type of pan did people use.  Jaymes uses a large shallow pan or a big stainless steel bowl.  I have neither - I do have two cookie sheets - could I use those.  Or I was thinking about getting a large disposable roaster pan - would that work?

johnjohn

A large disposable roaster would work. See how much it holds. You might need two of them. Seems to me when I first started making this, I made it in a turkey roaster, but I had to do two batches. I just wanted to make it in one batch, which is when I bought the big stainless bowl.

But that roaster is a good idea, and it would certainly simplify cleanup! :rolleyes:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I have a large roasting pan plus a big Pyrex casserole that's about the size of a half-sheet pan, only it has 2" sides. I split the batch between the two and baked them together.

Attempt #2 tonight. This time I used light brown sugar and only 1 tbsp molasses. Much lighter in color and flavor than the last batch, and closer to what I was seeking...but still not right. Next I will be attempting Chefette's technique, and perhaps the popcorn balls after that. The popcorn balls seem TOO sticky...I don't want actively sticky, I just want the popcorn to stick in smallish clumps.

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I place about 300g of sugar and just a bit of water in a heavy saucepan (that has a cover with it) and cook it to soft ball, I then toss in about 1/3 cup unpopped popcorn kernels and stir them around.  They will suddenly start blossoming just at the caramel stage.  At this point for your own self protection you will want to put the top on and start madly shaking the pan around.  When it stops making popping noises you open up, stir the corn around a minute or two to deepen the caramel color and pour our onto a sheet pan.  If you do not move it around until it hardens it will stick together in big clumps than you need to break up.  Then you can toss in a handful of nuts or whatever if you want.  You could even caramelize them along with the corn in the first place.

I made Chefette's version yesterday. It reminds me of Cracker Jack or Sugar Smacks cereal. Simple to do, but I want a little more buttery flavor. At what point could I add butter to the pan so that it won't burn? I'm thinking heat the sugar, add the corn, when the first kernal pops, just before putting on the lid, I could add a knob of butter. Would that work? Also, how much is "a bit of water"?

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A bit of water - use about 100g (1/2 cup) of water.

I think that if you wish to add butter (consider spraying with butter flavor crisco before you dump it out of the pan for fat free), or after you uncover the pot plop in a tablespoon of butter while you develop the caramel.

I have not tried it with butter.

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How would a home chef know  what a soft ball stage is? :unsure:

I'm sure you that most candy thermometer's have a soft ball stage marking, but I learned by dropping a blob into a glass of ice water, then working it between my fingers to see if it is soft ball. If you've gone way, way over, you'll know because the stuff will just harden into crystal-type, if you haven't gone far enough, it will just dissolve. (Yes, my grandmother taught me how to do this when I was about 5. She said that a candy thermometer was just another tool to junk up a drawer.)


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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How would a home chef know  what a soft ball stage is? :unsure:

Get a glass cup (I have aways used a measuring cup because it's there and handy when I'm cooking) and put some cold water in it. Drizzle a little bit of your candy into the cold water. If the candy just dissipates into the water, it's nothing.

If the drizzle holds together, that is the "thread" stage.

Now, stick your fingers in and try to mash the candy into a "soft ball." When it holds together and forms a soft ball, that's soft ball stage. It should feel kind of the consistancy of clay, or Play Doh.

When it forms a hard ball, hard enough that if you knock it against the side of the cup you can hear a crack, well, that's "hard ball" stage.

I, too, have been doing this since I was about five.

:rolleyes:

And Rachel - since you want it to taste buttery, why don't you try my recipe? It really isn't much work at all, and in fact, is kind of fun.

If it does turn out to be a bigger deal than you want, you can always go back to experimenting with adding stuff to Chefette's.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Un-lurking to say I made Jaymes caramel corn as a gift for my brothers and sisters for Christmas. My S.O. loved it so much that I had to make 3 batches to have enough for gifts. She ate it as fast as I made it. The brothers and sisters loved it to. Even the dog loved it , every time the timer went off to stir it she was in the kitchen before me waiting for the few kernnels that droped on the floor when stirring.(I need a bigger pan )

Back to lurking.

P.S. Thanks Jaymes for the recipe.

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Un-lurking to say I made Jaymes caramel corn as a gift for my brothers and sisters for Christmas. My S.O. loved it so much that I had to make 3 batches to have enough for gifts. She ate it as fast as I made it. The brothers and sisters loved it to. Even the dog loved it , every time the timer went off to stir it she was in the kitchen before me waiting for the few kernnels that droped on the floor when stirring.(I need a bigger pan )

Back to lurking.

P.S. Thanks Jaymes for the recipe.

What a great compliment. :smile:

What other recipes have you been trying Suzycooks? Maybe you ought to un-lurk and share about those experiences in the relevant threads. It seems you may have some great experiences to share.

Jaymes's popcorn brought great joy to a friend I made it for. She is still singing praises. And I get kisser for having made it... Thanks Jaymes. :biggrin:

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I hate to say it, but I'm having a problem with the caramel popcorn. The first stir after putting it in the oven, the caramel crystalizes and becomes all grainy. I keep expecting the sugar to remelt and form a glaze, but after about 1 hour 20 minutes it's just starting to taste burnt. Should the final texture of the coating be grainy? I was really hoping for a glossy, smooth caramel. I'm wondering if it might have to do with the brown sugar. Could I ask what brand you are using, Jaymes?

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Un-lurking to say I made Jaymes caramel corn as a gift for my brothers and sisters for Christmas. My S.O. loved it so much that I had to make 3 batches to have enough for gifts. She ate it as fast as I made it. The brothers and sisters loved it to. Even the dog loved it , every time the timer went off to stir it she was in the kitchen before me waiting for the few kernnels that droped on the floor when stirring.(I need a bigger pan )

Back to lurking.

P.S. Thanks Jaymes for the recipe.

Wow. Un-lurking! That's high praise, indeed.

You know, there are just always a few recipes that are such great fun to make, and fun to eat - kind of sets a festive mood as soon as you see it. This recipe has always been that for my family. I am really pleased that it is working out that way for others as well.

And, I agree with Suvir - Suzycooks - won't you make at least a few more posts about other recipes you make and enjoy??

And, Nightscotsman - I'm mystified. It's not supposed to be grainy at all. And mine has never come out that way. I just checked in my cabinet and I currently have C&H brown sugar, but as I've already said, I've been making this recipe for decades, and never had that problem. I have lived places where the only brand of brown sugar I could get was some peculiar brand that I'd never heard of, with names I couldn't even pronounce.

So, I don't know. Maybe you cooked the caramel too long or at too high heat before you poured it over the corn. It shouldn't be crystalizing, exactly. I don't know what to tell you. I've never had that problem. :unsure:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I lurk more than I post, but I wanted to tell you Jaymes that I made the caramel corn and took it to my office potluck. I think I am a pretty good cook, but have never taken anything to a potluck and been the 'star' until now.

I bought a can of deluxe mixed nuts without peanuts and used that. So there were big brazil nuts and cashews and pecans and almonbds and everything.

I also went to a candy store and got some of those small whitge bags so people could take some home, but there wasn't any left over at all!

And for the first time, I was the 'star' of the potluck. :blush: Thank you very much and I know I'll be making this recfipe a lot!

You said that you can add chile powder and someone mentioned adding ceyenne. I might try that, or putting in some hot sauce sometime.

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I made another batch last night. I fixed half of it as usual and the other half I spiked with cayenne and chili powder plus a little cinnamon. I took the two types of popcorn to a new year's party. Both went over quite well, I think the beer-drinkers especially liked the spiced caramel popcorn.

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