Caramel Popcorn

You have to try this recipe!  It is the best caramel popcorn in the whole wide world… borderline addictive.  I can’t stay away from it if it’s in the same house… let alone the same room as me.

I got the recipe from my friend, Lara.  She made it once when we went over to play games.  I’m so glad she was willing to share the recipe.  It saved me from searching high and low for possibly ever trying to find a recipe that even comes close. 

It’s gooey and sticky… just the way I LOVE it!  It would make perfect popcorn balls.

Caramel Popcorn

Caramel Popcorn

2 large mixing bowls full of popcorn (remove kernels)

2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter

1 c. light corn syrup

1 can sweetened condensed milk (15 oz)

1 tsp. vanilla

Bring brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup to a boil in saucepan, stirring constantly.  Add condensed milk… keep stirring and boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour over popcorn, stir and ENJOY!  (or quickly form into balls if desired)

Seriously, it’s addicting.  Be careful!  ;)

 

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Homemade Caramel for Caramel Apples

I know, I know… I just barely did a post about how I was going to get all healthy again and stuff.  But seriously, ‘tis the season for caramel apples!  And the kids wanted to make them for Family Home Evening.  I caved.

Usually I do the whole Kraft caramel thing and unwrap every little piece.  Actually, I make the kids do that part while I do other important things like… supervise.  It’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it ;)

But this year, I found a recipe for caramel that I really wanted to try.  It claimed to be the best for caramel apples (at least that’s what the pin said on Pinterest) so we gave a whirl. 

It was DELICIOUS!!  The recipe comes from The Tasty Kitchen.

 

caramel apples

Caramel Apples

Up to 12 apples, washed and dried (any variety you choose)

1/4 c. butter (do not use margarine)

1 c. white corn syrup

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

2 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

 

Insert sticks into the apples where the stem is. 

Butter a cookie sheet to set apples on once they are coated in caramel.

Combine all ingredients (except vanilla and apples) in a saucepan.  Heat over medium/low heat.  Stir constantly!!!!!  (I recommend a whisk)

Keep cooking and stirring until the mixture reaches 235-240 degrees (soft ball stage).  This step could take a while.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Let cool for a few minutes.

Twirl apples in caramel gently tilting pan so it pools on one side allowing the entire apple to be covered.  Place apples on buttered cookie sheet.  You can also dip them in other toppings after they’ve cooled just a pinch, if desired.  M&M’s, graham cracker crumbs, chopped nuts, sprinkles, etc.

If you have any extra caramel left in the pan you can either add a little half and half to it to make it like a warm dip for apple wedges or butter a plate or small pan, pour it in and wait ‘til cool to cut it into pieces.

Enjoy!  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to the Kraft caramels again. 

 

 

 

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Old Fashioned Taffy

In honor of Pioneer Day this Sunday, we’ve made butter, fudge, ice cream {which turned into an epic fail… which is why it was never posted :( }, and now taffy!!

Now before I get into the recipe, I have a funny story to tell.

This recipe calls for glycerine.  And in the book it specifically says that you can find this particular ingredient at a drugstore.  Not only that but it’s ‘essential’.  See?

So, I did what any good girl would do and ran to the drugstore for my glycerine.  This is what I found…

Great!  I have what I need, let’s get started…

But WAIT!  On the back of this bottle of glycerin (no E) it states “for external use only”.  Lovely, what am I supposed to do now?  One of my ’essential ingredients is not to be consumed.  I called my mom and she did a little research via the internet (gotta love Google) and found that glycerine (with an E) is ’also known as glycerin’ (without an E).  Hmmm, so it was time to call a pharmacist.

Yes!  I did, I called a pharmacy to ask a silly question.  It went something like this:

***ring, ring***

Technician (female):  Pharmacy… technician speaking.  How can I help you?

Me:  Ummm hi, I’m calling with what is probably a really silly question.

Tech:  *light giggle* That’s ok, we love those.

Me:  Okay, well, I have a recipe for old fashioned taffy and it calls for glycerine.  In the book it says that it can be found at a drugstore so I went to Rite Aid and bought some but realized that on the back it says ‘external use only’.  Am I really supposed to use this in my recipe?

Tech:  *hearty laugh*  No!  Don’t eat that stuff!  It’s not supposed to be eaten.  You really have a recipe that calls for glycerine?

Me:  Yes, but I noticed {actually Anthony noticed… so unlike him} that the one I bought is spelled without an E on the end.  In the book, it has an E.  Would that make any difference?

Tech:  I don’t know, let me ask the head pharmacist.  Hold on for just one minute…

Tech {after asking head}:  I guess there is an oral one.  Maybe if you were to call Orson Gygi’s and see if they carry it.

Me:  Okay, thank you so much.

Well, after that embarrassing display of ignorance, I called Gygi’s and they DO, in fact, carry glycerine (with an E) and it is in fact edible.  The lady said people use it in fondant.  Being that I know absolutely zippo about fondant I would never have known.  But it got me thinking, if it’s used for fondant, maybe craft stores would carry it.  They carry fondant.  As it turns out, I was right!  This is the correct glycerin, folks!

And now, let’s proceed, shall we?

This recipe comes from this book, one of my favorites!  And it was published in 1980… maybe back then, glycerine (with an E) was sold at drugstores.

We’ve decided that the ‘E’ stands for ‘edible’, no?

Here’s what you’ll need:

And now you’ll need to combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, salt, and glycerine in a saucepan.  {I could have used a smaller one}.

Bring to a boil.

Boil to 258*.  It will thicken as it heats up.

Meanwhile, butter a cookie sheet.  Use real butter, please… not a spray.

Once the mixture reaches 258*, take off heat and let sit for three minutes before stirring in butter and vanilla.  Stir in completely.

{Notice the little black flecks… yeah, not too happy about those.  The burnt sugar on the sides got stirred in.  Don’t freak… I did just a little.  No biggie.}

Pour it onto the buttered cookie sheet.  It probably won’t fill the whole thing.  That’s okay. {forgot to take a picture of that… sorry!}

Let cool until it can be handled with bare hands.  This happens within just a few minutes.  Don’t wait too long or it will harden too much.

Separate into pieces {yes, it looks like raw chicken} and strrrrrretch and fold, strrrrrretch and fold, strrrrrrretch and fold.  {Yes it deserves the extra R’s because it really is that tough for a wuss like me. ;) }

The left one above has not been pulled yet, the right one has been pulled just a few times.

Which is why I make my husband finish it off for me.  {Hi Anthony!  I think you look awfully handsome with that facial scruff you’re growing!}

Keep going until it’s ‘white and pliable’.

Now you can either cut into little pieces or shape it into your initial… Go for the initial!  The kids think it’s great!

 

Old Fashioned Taffy (Lion House Taffy)

2 c. sugar

1 1/2 c. water

1 c. white corn syrup

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. glycerine

1 tsp. vanilla

2 T. butter

Boil sugar, water, corn syrup, salt and glycerine to 258*.  Remove from heat.  Let sit for 3 minutes before adding butter and vanilla.  Stir in until butter is melted completely.  Pour onto buttered cookie sheet and cool until it can be handled with bare hands. 

Make sure your hands are clean.  Take a piece of taffy and stretch and fold over and over again until white and pliable.  Form into initial or cut into pieces.  Wrap in parchment paper or wax paper.  It will stick to anything else. 

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