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Caramel/Candied Popcorn

Posted Oct 24 2012 8:57pm
 I've decided that this is what I am handing out to the neighbourhood kids this year.  I suppose I will have to offer an alternative to kids I don't know, but for the many wee'uns I do know this is what they're getting.  I have posted a caramel corn recipe before but this one is a bit easier, I think, even though it bakes for longer.  It is also a little more adaptable with the candied version.  This is a Paula Deen recipe that has been (easily) veganized and cut in half.  I certainly don't own a roasting pan that can hold 8 quarts of popcorn.  I guess everything really is bigger in America.

- 2/3 cup popping corn
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (use white sugar for the candied version)
- large pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- food colouring (for candied version)
- food flavouring (optional for candied version)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda

1. Pop the popping corn whatever way you like (hot air popper, stove top).  Your yield should be 8 cups of popcorn.  Transfer to a large roasting pan to cool, making sure you remove unpopped kernels.
2. Preheat oven to 200F .
3. Place margarine, sugar, salt, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to bubbling and boil for 5 mins.  If you want to use a candy thermometer, you are aiming for 125F, but just letting it do its thing for 5 mins works as well.
4. If making candied version, add food colouring and flavours and mix well.  Add baking soda and mix well.  Drizzle over popcorn and stir to coat.
5. Bake for 1 hour, gently stirring every 15 mins.
6. Spread on waxed paper or baking parchment to cool.  Break into smaller pieces if needed.

The idea of the candied version is to make coloured and flavoured popcorn according to the event.  I made orange popcorn with some Wilton icing gel.  Red colouring and cinnamon flavour for Valentine's Day.  You get the idea.  
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