Saturday, April 11, 2015

Homemade Cracker Jack Caramel Corn

Popping corn, peanuts, butter, brown sugar and molasses... oh those flavors!  Brings back memories of childhood balancing with my roller skates on and digging in the box for the prize.  Always hoping I had a diamond ring in the package!
Here is a dandy version of my favorite childhood skate and go snack:

To pop corn:
Measure popping corn to fill a single layer in the bottom of your pot.
Remove corn and set aside.  Pour enough cooking oil just to coat the bottom of the pan. Set on heat, add corn and pop.  Pour popped corn into an extra large buttered bowl.
Add 1\2  to 3\4 cups dry roasted peanuts to popped corn.

In a saucepan melt:
 1-1\2 sticks butter
1\2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 T. Honey
3 T. molasses, I add a bit more because I love he flavor of molasses
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla
Heat over medium low heat until mixture comes to bubbling and stirring continue to heat at bubbling for 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and add 1 tsp. Baking soda to the hot caramel mixture. Stirring , as it will foam up and lighten in color.  Pour over the corn and nuts, stirring to cover all well. Pour onto a large, buttered baking sheet.  Spread caramel corn out evenly over sheet and place into a 250 degree  oven to bake for 20 minutes.  
Remove and allow to cool.  Store your crisp and crunchy treat in an air tight container (Christmas cookie tins work perfectly)  Enjoy!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Homemade Brown Sugar In Five Minutes!

I learned this while working as a  baker in a major whole foods grocery.  It is the only brown sugar I use now.
 I scoop about 5 or 6 cups of granulated sugar into a mixer bowl.  Pour about 1/4 cup of good quality molasses over the sugar.
With mixer on low speed, stirring the molasses into the sugar takes about 5 minutes to incorporate  it well enough.  Be sure to scrape sides with a rubber spatula to get all the molasses into the sugar.

It should be a lovely color and very moist when done.  I store in a glass jar and it keeps very well, though I use it up quickly.  The brown sugar is exactly what you would buy in a box at the market, but with a more intense flavor and moistness.