Sunday, June 9, 2013

Eat Something Sunday: Candy Popcorn

A few installments of Eat Something Sunday back, I shared my recipe for Magic Popcorn, which is a bit like a glammed-up and deconstructed popcorn ball. Popcorn in all its varieties has been a favorite snack of mine for as far back as I can remember. The recipe I'm sharing today comes from a superbly awesome 1970s promo recipe book from Orville Redenbacher and Wesson. Over the years, I've made it for parties, for backstage nibbles at stage productions, and sometimes just when I'm craving something a little different.

Candy Popcorn
adapted from Orville Redenbacher's "The Popping Corn Book", 1975

Preheat oven to 200°F

4 quarts popped popcorn (that's about 16 cups. Basically, pop a big bowl full)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
4 Tbsp. any flavor powdered gelatin* (not sugar free)
1 tsp. baking soda

You will also need:
a non-stick saucepan
a large cake pan or roasting pan
a candy thermometer
a non-metal spoon

*a small package of Jell-o is a touch over 4 Tbsp. and I just use the whole thing.

1 - Pop your popcorn. I find airpopped is crunchier and works best for this purpose, but stove popped is tasty too! Just don't use microwave. It's got too much salt and flavoring already to work well. Pour the popcorn into your cake pan, being sure to remove any old maids, and place in the 200°F oven to keep warm.

2 - Combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, & salt in the saucepan. Bring these to a boil, stirring constantly.

3 - Once to a boil, using your candy thermometer as a guide, allow the mixture to reach 250°F (hard ball stage) without stirring.

4 - Mix in the gelatin powder quickly and thenallow to rise in temperature to 260°F (it will take about 1 minute) - while this is happening, pull your popcorn out of the oven and set nearby.

5 - Stir the baking soda into the candy mixture as quick as you can. It will foam up.

6 - Pour over the popcorn in the pan.

Mix, mix, mix!

7 - Place the coated popcorn back into the 200°F oven for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Break into small pieces. You may like to spread it on some parchment paper to speed this along. If you're not going to gobble it up right then, store it in an airtight container.

For this post, I just made cherry popcorn, but my favorite thing to do is make a few batches with flavors that blend well together and then mix them up into a big bowl like a fruit punch of candy popcorn!

Some great combos are cherry/lime, orange/lemon/lime, pineapple/watermelon/mango, peach/black cherry - the possibilities are endless! Color coordinate it for holidays or to the theme of your next party.

And thank Orville. He truly was The Popcorn King.


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