The holiday season has officially started at our house. Yes, the decorations are already up and the music has been sung but I'm talking about the real kickoff to the season.
I'm baking me some Red Hot Popcorn.
Oh how I love it.
I have a very weird popcorn condition. I can eat and eat and eat it and never fill up. Watch out when I'm pregnant. Or at Silver Dollar City where they have fresh kettle corn. It can get ugly.
I make this recipe between 5-15 times during the month of December and personally can put away about 5 batches. Wait, that makes me sound bad. Okay, honestly, I probably eat at least 1 full batch.
Okay, okay, 1 and a half.
I actually make this to use for teacher and neighbor gifts each year. I'm pretty well known. Not that I'm bragging:)
Or after you get back from the store.
Oh, and give most of it away soon after cooling!
Red Hot Popcorn
1 c. butter (two sticks) 1/2 c. light corn syrup 9 oz. red hot candies 8 quarts air popped popcorn
Place popcorn in two large bowls.
In a saucepan, combine butter, corn syrup, and candies; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over popcorn and mix thoroughly. Turn into two greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch cookie sheets.
Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from pans and place on waxed paper to cool. Break apart; store in airtight containers or plastic bags.
Now for a few well learned tips.
I am very very careful to make sure that I get all the unpopped kernels out of the popcorn. That goes back to a popcorn ball incident and a trip to the dentist.
I pop all the popcorn into a large bowl and sift my fingers through it and dump it into a 1 quart measuring cup. I transfer it to another bowl and start measuring a new quart. I also, because I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, keep this handy cheat sheet near by so I don't lose count.
It's handy to have a friend available to help stir the hot candy mixture and popcorn together since it is in two bowls. You might have a bowl big enough for a whole batch but short of my kitchen sink, I don't. I also don't have two cookie sheets the same size so I have to use three.
I'm high maintenance like that.
Make sure you cook it the full hour or it will not dry out enough and will be gooey. We had a friend give us some undercooked a few years ago. I was using my finger nails to try to clean my teeth. Sorry you missed that.
And please, in the name of all that's holy, check your temperature!! Please don't set it for 350 only to have one of the pans burn on the bottom. And please, don't be cheap like some people and hand sort it all out and continue cooking the unburned parts.
Not that I know anyone who has ever done that. I'm just saying.
Now excuse me, I need to open a window and air this place out.