Well, it seems this year I'm all about the treats that can double as gifts!
First there were pomegranate caramels, and now this delectable caramel corn.
Though, I should forewarn anyone expecting a holiday gift from me this year, there will be none of this caramel corn. Sorry. I ate it all. Or rather, my coworkers ate it all.
And thank goodness they did, because this stuff is addictive, and I may have demolished the entire batch on my own had I not saved myself.
Rich, buttery caramel gets blended tossed with popped corn and huge flakes of coconut, and the curry powder and black pepper stirred into the caramel give the entire batch a slight spiciness and depth of flavor that had people trying to guess just exactly they were tasting.
It went over so well that I'm sure this would make an easy, delicious gift for hosts of holiday parties, acquaintances, or friends, or as a snack served up with drinks at your own party. Whip up a batch, fill a jar or bag and tie it with a pretty ribbon, and voila, instant gift!
But if you want to be a grinch and keep it for yourself, I can't say I blame you.
Curry Coconut Caramel Corn
Caramel corn method adapted from Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts
- 2 tbs canola oil
- 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup corn syrup
- 3 tbs butter
- 1 1/4 cup brown sugar (9 oz)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 tbs baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup large coconut flakes
- Assemble all ingredients. This will move quickly so have everything measured out and ready to go.
- Make popcorn: heat oil in the bottom of a large dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add 2 or 3 kernels to the oil, and when they pop, add the rest of the kernels. Cover, and cook, shaking the pot a bit to coat the kernels in oil, and continue shaking as the kernels pop so they move around and don't burn. Uncover slightly on occasion to let steam escape. When popping slows to one or two bursts every few seconds, remove from heat. Transfer popcorn to a large baking sheet, then wipe out the pot (don't wash it though, you want it greasy for when you mix the caramel in. Portion out 7 cups of popcorn and return to the pot. Save any extra for snacking (I didn't have any extra). Heat oven to 170 degrees, and place the pot of popcorn on a rack in the lower-middle position, to keep warm.
- Make the curry caramel: Combine the water, corn syrup, butter, and brown sugar in a large pot over medium heat. Stir with a fork until bubbling, about 4 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, and clip a candy thermometer or digital thermometer to the pot. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 345 degrees.
- While sugar mixture is cooking, grease the baking sheet. Place the salt, baking soda, curry powder and black pepper together into a small bowl. When the sugar mixture reaches 345 degrees, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the salt/baking soda/spice mixture.
- Remove the warm popcorn from the oven toss with the coconut, and pour the caramel mixture over all, folding and tossing until all the kernels are well-coated. Spoon the mixture onto the greased baking sheet and pull the caramel coated popcorn and coconut apart and into small clusters. Let cool 45 minutes, until caramel shell is hard and crunchy. Transfer caramel corn to sealable containers and store up to 2 weeks, at room temperature, or more likely, eat by the fistful.