Sunday, November 15, 2009

Microwave Caramel Corn

Some of my favorite recipes are ones that are handed down. Many, like my grandma's stuffing, are tied to some of my best memories. Others, like microwave caramel corn, are simple recipes that taste like I've slaved forever in the kitchen.

My sister got married on Friday and she decided to make caramel corn for her favors. It's not a difficult recipe and it's one my mom has made for as long as I can remember. She passed the recipe along and now I make it for parties and other various functions. It's always a huge hit. Best yet, it doesn't take much effort. It takes less than 10 mintues start to finish. That's why I volunteered to help my sister make it for her wedding.

It's super easy, unless you need 100 gift bags. Then you'll need four hours of nonstop cooking and approximately 15 batches of caramel corn. I think I can now make this popcorn in my sleep.

Putting my sister to work on her wedding favor. Don't be fooled, I did most of the work ;)

I'm sure there are fancier ways to make caramel corn, but my mom's method uses the microwave. Just pop the popcorn (we air pop it), make the caramel by melting together brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in the microwave. Add some baking soda and vanilla, pour over the popcorn in a paper bag, and microwave the coated popcorn, shaking at regular intervals. Problem was, it needed constant babysitting and when we had one batch in the microwave we were pulling together the ingredients for the next or washing the bowls (we only had two!)

Caramel Corn
Cooling off

While I was cooking Allison and occaisonally her fiance scooped the popcorn into gift bags for the guests.

All packed up

The day of, we put the popcorn on the tables for guests to munch on while they were waiting for dinner. I know a lot of people who have favors left over. Not my sister. People were actually grabbing extras on their way out -- and asking for the recipe.

On the tables.

Congrats Allison and Chris!

Microwave Caramel Corn
16 cups popped popcorn (we fill up the air popper cup with kernels)
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Add the sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt to a large microwaveable bowl. Heat in the microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Stir. Heat on HIGH for 3 minutes more, stirring after each minute.

Add vanilla and baking soda; stir. Put popcorn in a large paper bag (think grocery store bag) and pour caramel over the popcorn. Fold the bag down and shake. Put the bag in the microwave and heat on HIGH for 3 minutes total. Shake after the first minute, the second minute, after 3o seconds and after 30 more seconds.

Pour on to foil to cool.

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