Friday, March 18, 2005

SHF #6: Stuck on You - Gingerbread Caramel Corn

I've been quietly blogging over here about various cooking adventures, and I've been spending way too much time reading (and sometimes drooling over) other food bloggers. After seeing the announcement for Sugar High Friday #6 on Debbie's blog (who's dark chocolate pudding has become a staple in my house), I promised myself I'd participate.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I poured through my cookbooks -- I found Payard Patisserie Caramel Ice Cream that sounded decadent, but little else jumped out at me. I was struggling to find something that fit the theme (caramel), but also was something I could eat (Weight-Watchers friendly). One of the essential items in my WW "survival kit" is microwave popcorn (along with Trader Joe's fake Peanut Butter and sugar-free Jello), so the idea of caramel corn seemed like it might fit within the limitations, but also be a delicious experiment. I love the science of candy-making and any chance to use my candy thermometer (though this recipe doesn't require one).

I perused recipes online, looking for low-fat caramel popcorn with a twist. I refused to use commercial microwave popcorn, so I popped several batched of plain popcorn in a paper bag in my microwave (while regretting the decision to donate my air popper to the Salvation Army several weeks ago) (Martha Stewart has directions, which work just as well with loose popcorn as with her fancy popping corn on the cob). This Gingerbread Caramel Popcorn was created by merging several different recipes, and it created a luxurious texture and complex flavor that even adults will find irresistable.

Gingerbread Caramel Corn

12 C popcorn
1 C light brown sugar
1/2 C light corn syrup
1/3 C butter (5 T plus 1 t)
1 T robust molasses
1 t vanilla
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 T ground ginger
1 t cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 250. Prepare your popcorn, using no additional salt or fat. (Air popped or microwave in batches. (My microwave recipe: 3 T of kernels in a brown paper bag, fold over the end and cook on high for about 2 minutes.) Place popcorn in a large bowl.
2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and molasses in a large saucepan. Heat over medium until butter is melted, stirring to combine. Allow it to come to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring just once.
3. Remove saucepan from heat, and stir in vanilla, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon.
4. Pour mixture slowly over popcorn, stirring well to cover as much as possible.
5. Spread popcorn in a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
6. Once baked, stir popcorn as it cools to break up large chunks. It's delicious warm or at room temperature. Store in an air-tight container (will store for about a week -- if you're that self-depriving).
Weight Watchers: 2 points per 1/2 cup



this sound really nice and i think that i will make it. you are king to put this on blogg.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Caryn said...

mmm, food porn

2:16 PM  
Blogger debbie said...

Caramel Corn that's WW friendly! Stop the presses! Thanks for posting this Heather--I'll definitely try it.

4:15 PM  
Blogger chronicler said...

Oooo! another popcorn recipe! yay! I love popcorn, this is a super version! Thanks!

10:48 PM  
Blogger Nic said...

Hi Heather - I like your blog! Good job on being WW friendly. My SHF entry is similar (a friend who does WW told me it has 3 points per 1 cup serving and she was glad she could try some), though I love gingerbread, so I'll give it a shot next time I'm cooking up a batch. Thanks!

12:16 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

When does the movie start? Great looking snack!

3:07 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

What a great snack! I love it! I think this might just be on the menu sometime soon...who could say no? Thanks so much for sharing this with us this month!

10:52 AM  
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