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Malawry

Caramel Popcorn

106 posts in this topic

On a boring Saturday night, nothing much happening on eG - waiting to hear reports from the big Silver City extravaganza - I went back to the first page of the Pastry and Baking forums and found this gem.

Jaymes, this recipe rocks. This is the one I've been searching for. Every time I've attempted to copy poppycock or fiddle faddle for my husband - he's said "no that's not what I want". I think this one is going to do it. It's still a little warm, but it tastes pretty fabulous to me.

And only one burn - just as the last two caramel burns on my other fingers are starting to heal up.

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On a boring Saturday night, nothing much happening on eG - waiting to hear reports from the big Silver City extravaganza - I went back to the first page of the Pastry and Baking forums and found this gem.

Jaymes, this recipe rocks.  This is the one I've been searching for.  Every time I've attempted to copy poppycock or fiddle faddle for my husband - he's said "no that's not what I want".  I think this one is going to do it.  It's still a little warm, but it tastes pretty fabulous to me.

And only one burn - just as the last two caramel burns on my other fingers are starting to heal up.

Thanks for letting me know! :rolleyes:

It's been a favorite in my kitchen for many, many years. It's what I often give out for gifts in the neighborhood at Christmastime, and it's now a "regular" at our yearly church bakesale. We love the stuff.


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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Hello. I am new here and have been enjoying this thread. I like the idea for making caramel corn during the popping process!

This thread brings back memories--I made spiced caramel corn at least twice a week (20 quarts at a time) as a bar snack at the old restaurant where I was pastry sous chef. I'm posting this for the first time. It is spicy. It is sweet. It is caramel-y and delicious. We had folks coming in just to get the popcorn. Warning: this stuff is like crack, so be careful:-) This recipe is more along the lines of a kicked up Fiddle Faddle than Cracker Jack, so it's nice for non-molasses-y people.

This recipe is my base for the restaurant, but you can easily scale it up or down, depending on how much you want.

Spiced Caramel Corn

3 1/2 cups mushroom popcorn, popped

4 cups spiced pumpkin seeds (recipe below)

1 1/4 cup light corn syrup

20 oz. unsalted butter

30.5 oz. dark brown sugar

3 1/2 T. salt--yes, tablespoons.

1 1/4 t. cinnamon

1 t. cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 1/4 t. baking soda

Spread popped popcorn evenly in 3 hotel pans coated with pan spray. Divide spiced pumpkin seeds evenly over the popcorn. In a large, heavy pot, bring corn syrup, butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, cayenne and paprika to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the baking soda. Stir and stir. The mixture will foam up and look like caramel shaving cream.

When it's evenly shaving creamy, pour mixture evenly over popped corn and stir as well as you can with a large spatula. Place in a 225 degree oven (this is for convection, so you could go with 250 if you're using a standard oven) for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Every 20 minutes or so, give the pans a careful but thorough stir. Remove from oven, stir again, and then again to keep the popcorn from becoming one monolithic hotel pan shaped ball o' corn.

Eat and store the leftovers. I used to get dessicant packs to throw in the storage Cambro to keep the popcorn crisp and fresh (the restaurant was in hot and humid Florida).

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

I'd make an enormous batch at once. No real measurements here--the goal is to get all of the seeds evenly coated but not gloppy with eggwhite.

Brown sugar

salt

cumin

chili powder

orange zest

egg white.

Whisk ingredients together. Add pumpkin seeds (or any nut would be just fine). Spread in thin layer on Silpat-lined baking sheet(s). Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Stir and bake a few minutes more. Nuts are done when they are lightly golden brown. Cool and break apart. If the egg white is still a little gooey in the center, bake a couple of minutes more, but watch them so they don't burn.

You could also leave out the spices and reduce the salt a bit for a more traditional caramel corn. The increase in salt makes it more addictive, plus folks at the bar would order more cold beverages when eating it.

I hope you try this stuff. It is amazingly good.


Jenni

Pastry Methods and Techniques

Pastry Chef Online

"We're all home cooks when we're cooking at home."

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Just found this thread last week - I made Jaymes' caramel corn on Sunday. It was gone last night! Fantastic. I can see me making lots of this in the future, Jaymes! Just excellent. I put it on my webpage, duly credited to you, of course! :wub::wub:

Without really thinking about it I baked the caramel corn on one shelf with a big pan of Benton's bacon baking away on the bottom shelf. The corn picked up a little smokiness. Nice surprise.


Edited by Kim Shook (log)

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We mainly do chocolates but one of our best sellers is our caramel corns which are loaded with chocolate. Because of the humidity I cook the sugar to a pretty high temp and it becomes more like a brittle. When mixing in a large bowl, I keep the bowl over low eat so the caramel doesn't harden too fast. Here is my favorite

350 grams Sugar

160 grams Glucose

120 grams Honey

2 TBSP Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Baking Soda

140 grams toasted Macadamia Nuts

50 grams toasted Coconut Chips

15 cups Popcorn

1. Toast the Macadamia Nuts then Coconut Chips (use the large flaky ones)

2. Combine sugar, glucose and honey and cook to 330 F

3. When the sugar hits 330 F add the vanilla extract and then the Baking Soda and stir thoroughly (be careful it will rise)

4. Working quickly, pour the caramel over the popcorn, macadamia nuts and coconut and stir until coated well. Keep the bowl over low heat so the caramel doesn't harden. Flatten the popcorn on a Silpat using another silpat (won't burn as bad) or a rolling pin.

5. After the popcorn is cooled dredge the corn with tempered white chocolate

6. Enjoy.

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Jaymes, I have never actually made caramel popcorn before and your recipe looks very good. I just have a question before I try making it. When you are boiling the sugar and butter mixture for 5 minutes, does it need to reach a certain temperature or sugar stage such as softball? Or are you simply cooking it to a caramel stage?

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Jaymes, I have never actually made caramel popcorn before and your recipe looks very good. I just have a question before I try making it. When you are boiling the sugar and butter mixture for 5 minutes, does it need to reach a certain temperature or sugar stage such as softball? Or are you simply cooking it to a caramel stage?

I just made Jaymes caramel popcorn this weekend (and it was delicious, thank you Mr. Jaymes!) and I had the same question, but I was making peanut brittle, too, and that had to be cooked until the hardball stage @ 254 deg F, so that's what I did and it worked great. The popcorn wasn't covered completely by the syrup mixture, but I think I used a bit too much popcorn. It didn't matter because the popcorn was sooooooooooo veeeeeery good. It was a big hit at my pumpkin carving party!

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Jaymes, I have never actually made caramel popcorn before and your recipe looks very good. I just have a question before I try making it. When you are boiling the sugar and butter mixture for 5 minutes, does it need to reach a certain temperature or sugar stage such as softball? Or are you simply cooking it to a caramel stage?

I just made Jaymes caramel popcorn this weekend (and it was delicious, thank you Mr. Jaymes!) and I had the same question, but I was making peanut brittle, too, and that had to be cooked until the hardball stage @ 254 deg F, so that's what I did and it worked great. The popcorn wasn't covered completely by the syrup mixture, but I think I used a bit too much popcorn. It didn't matter because the popcorn was sooooooooooo veeeeeery good. It was a big hit at my pumpkin carving party!

I'm sure that the syrup for the caramel corn does have to reach a certain temperature/stage, but my grandmother always timed it, and that works great, so I've never felt the need to try any other method. I suppose I could stick a candy thermometer in there and see what it is when you hit the five-minute point.

But hey, if it ain't broke....

You know?


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've been using basically the same recipe that Jaymes uses for 25 years, and mine says exactly the same thing: "boil for 5 minutes." Works fine.

The (minor) differences between mine and Jaymes' are:

  • Mine doesn't call for salt (on the other hand, my mother, from whom I got this recipe, always used salted butter).
  • It calls for a teaspoon of cream of tartar. It's my understanding that this helps ensure a crisp product.
  • My recipe doesn't call for an addition of vanilla -- that sounds great; I'll have to try it.
  • I use dark corn syrup and no molasses, but I imagine that's a wash.
  • The recipe I use calls for adding nuts (roasted & salted) when you're tossing the popcorn with the caramel.

I never used to make this with nuts, but recently I've tried it that way. It seems that no matter what I do, the nuts seem to sink to the bottom of the roasting pan. I'd like for them to become one with the popcorn. Any tricks to help that?

The spiced versions sound wonderful too. I'll have to try them.

(Oh, and now that silpats have been invented, I'm all over using them instead of waxed paper.)


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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Five minutes gives you about 115º C.

Two batches made last week - I forgot the corn syrup in the first, which made for an almost crystalline product where each kernel and nut were separate - and in the second I forgot to add the vanilla and baking soda before coating the corn - but quickly sprinkling it over and giving it a good mix resulted in perfect corn.

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This recipe, given to me by a Japanese Canadian friend, isn't made with popcorn, but small round Tostitos and if you want to be popular, try making this one and giving it to friends:

Tostitos Kakimochi

20 oz small round Tostitos

1/4 pound unsalted butter (I use salted)

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2-3 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Melt the butter on low heat. Add sugar, syrup, soy sauce and sesame seeds and mix until the sugar is melted

Place ½ the Tostitos in large bowl, add ½ the syrup mixture and slowly mix thoroughly, trying not to break chips. Put into a large greased pan. Repeat with the remaining Tostitos and mix well.

Bake in 250 degree oven for 1 hour. Mix every 15 minutes (do this or your snacks will stick into one big clump.)

Turn out the chips onto a large surface and try to separate as many as you can during that short period between burning your fingers and the time the chips are too cool to separate. As soon as they no longer stick to each other, store them in an air-tight container...if they last long enough for storing them at all.

Add shredded nori (seaweed) or rice seasoning for different flavors

Yummmmmm :wub::wub::wub:


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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Jaymes, does it package and mail well? I'm intrigued.

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It packages great. You can use plastic or cellophane bags, or tins. For shipping, I'd definitely use tins -- I line them with plastic wrap, or put the caramel corn into bags and then into tins.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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It packages great. You can use plastic or cellophane bags, or tins. For shipping, I'd definitely use tins -- I line them with plastic wrap, or put the caramel corn into bags and then into tins.

Wunderbar. Thanks! Sounds like a great treat. Gonna try this soon.

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Jaymes, does it package and mail well? I'm intrigued.

As JAZ says, it packages and ships like a dream. An added advantage is that it doesn't weigh much, so it's economical to mail.


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 never used to make this with nuts, but recently I've tried it that way. It seems that no matter what I do, the nuts seem to sink to the bottom of the roasting pan. I'd like for them to become one with the popcorn. Any tricks to help that?

I've been wondering about that, too. I wonder if it would help to add the nuts towards the end, when the caramel is more sticky. During the first 30 minutes the caramel is still too syrupy so when you stir the popcorn the nuts sink to the bottom.

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After watching Kerry Beal make Jaymes' caramel corn up in Manitoulin, I decided I was brave enough to give it a try. I have never even popped corn before as I don't like it! But all went well and I took the finished caramel corn to a Hallowe'en gathering at my daughter's and it magically disappeared in nano seconds! Great recipe and so easy once you get into it. Thank you. :wub:

P.S. I didn't add the nuts this time but might next.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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After playing with Jaymes' recipe a few times I came up with a method for those who prefer a clumpier style of caramel popcorn. By following this method the nuts will adhere to the popcorn rather than just sink to the bottom.

Note: I halved Jaymes' recipe to make it easier to handle.

After only a couple of trials it became clear that if I wanted the popcorn and nuts to cling together I had to reduce the amount of stirring called for in the recipe, especially at the end of the baking when the stirring would act to separate the popcorn and nuts from one another. In order to accomplish that I did a few things: The first was to place the uncoated popcorn in a pot or metal bowl in the preheating oven in order to to keep it warm. This makes it so much easier to evenly distribute the caramel into the popcorn later on and reduce the amount of stirring necessary.

Next, I only stirred the popcorn 3 times in the first 24 minutes at 8 minute intervals. After that I pushed all the popcorn into one large mass and let it bake undisturbed for another 25-30 min.

After it was done baking, I dumped the popcorn in a big pile on top of wax paper and allowed it to cool. From there all that was left was to separate the popcorn into whatever sized clusters I desired.

I hope somebody else tries out this method and lets me know what they think.


Edited by sheetz (log)

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thanks to all for this thread. My wife loves caramel popcorn, I'm gonna have to try these recipes out.

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Before adding nuts and seeds, should I roast them first?

I plan to make them and give them as gifts packaged in Chinese food take out boxes with a ribbon glued around it. I guess I would have to place them in air tight plastic first?


Edited by maxmillan (log)

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What brand of corn do you all use? I am trying to achieve those big puffy popped kernals, but so far every brand I have used has produced the small basic popped corn. Thanks for any ideas.

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What brand of corn do you all use? I am trying to achieve those big puffy popped kernals, but so far every brand I have used has produced the small basic popped corn. Thanks for any ideas.

Try this: Extra-Large "Caramel" Kernels

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What brand of corn do you all use? I am trying to achieve those big puffy popped kernals, but so far every brand I have used has produced the small basic popped corn. Thanks for any ideas.

v.gautam made a very informative post on different types of popping corn in the "popping corn" topic. It will help you find the type of popping corn you're looking for.

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baroness & prasantrin: Thank you so much I will check those both out. I appreciate the response.

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I tried making Jaymes' recipe last night with great success! YUM!

I don't have a bowl big enough to fit all of the popcorn in (with room to mix), so I split it between two bowls. My bowls are too big to both fit in the oven at the same time, so I had to bake one bowl first, and then the other, but there didn't seem to be too much of a problem with that.

I also added 1-1/2t of chili powder to 1/2 of the batch, just sprinkled over the corn & syrup before baking. It was good, but I think I might add a bit more, or add a bit of cayenne to add a bit more heat to it. I also think I'll probably add it to the caramel mix before I pour it over the corn to try to get more even distribution.

I think that I am going to be a popular girl at work tomorrow, and I think I'll be making more of this very soon.

Jaymes - thanks for sharing this recipe!

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