Can you believe we are into November? I feel like it was the beginnings of fall just last week, and now here we are getting so close to the beginnings of winter. I wish it could be fall for half of the year, and summer/spring for the rest. Wouldn’t that be a perfect world? The winters in Ottawa are so much worse than my childhood winters in the GTA. BUT, we do get to enjoy amazing things like the Rideau Canal and Beavertails to make up for it!
I hope everyone had a great Halloween. I was walking home from Zumba around trick or treating time, so I got to see all the little kiddos out collecting candy. As much as I LOVED trick or treating (I am a serious candy monster), I LOVE handing out candy just as much. Now that I have finally accepted the fact that my trick or treating days are over, I look forward to handing out candy to the kids! However, I have been apartment living for the past 7 years, and therefore have missed out on this chance and missed seeing all the cute costumes. You better believe that I am already planning how to decorate my house (!!!) next year for Halloween, and hoping that the street won’t be too much of a construction site for the kids to come trick or treating! I saw some really good Jack O’ Lantern ideas on my walk home last night…I’m storing them away in my brain for next year…muahaha.
Anyways, if we MUST leave fall and Halloween behind, there is something almost more exciting to look forward to. I bought my first box of clementines, had my first red-cupped drink at Starbucks, and my NSYNC Christmas CD is inching its way out of storage……..CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!! When I worked in retail, the Christmas decorations were up BEFORE Halloween. I’m not even kidding. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are already some Christmas trees up in the malls. I think Caramel Corn is the perfect treat to ease the transfer from fall to winter/Christmas.
My aunt makes this every year at Christmas, and when we all get together at her house on Boxing Day, I spend my quality time bonding with a large bowl of this caramel corn. It is sooooooooo good. It is definitely not a healthy treat, but it makes such a large amount, that the calories must be all dispersed throughout each piece of popcorn…right? So in the end, unless you eat the whole batch, I say it’s ok! And if you’re like me and you DO eat the whole batch, ask Santa for some Jillian Michaels DVDs to whip you into shape!
It is a really easy recipe to put together, but you do need a large roasting pan or any oven safe pan to mix it all in. Mine was probably a bit small which made mixing it a little tricky. This resulted in some popcorn spilling all over the place, and some not being coated in caramel as much as I would like. In the end it was still really good and it probably didn’t matter, but to make it easier next time, I will be asking Santa for an industrial sized roasting pan!!
I am generally not a big fan of caramel corn, or really popcorn in general. It’s not that I don’t like it, I just don’t have an extreme fondness for it. The minute I tasted this, everything changed. I begged my aunt for the recipe, and here it is in all its glory. Don’t be afraid of butter, there is NO substitute 🙂
- 3 bags microwave popcorn (try to get one that is ‘natural’ or unflavoured/buttered –the one I used was ‘lightly buttered’ because it was all I could find, and it was fine)
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups salted peanuts (optional, personally this is my favourite part of the popcorn, but I know this won’t fly with everybody so its up to you, also I didn’t really measure, so put as many or as few as you like)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Pop popcorn and pour into a large roasting pan (or any oven safe dish) with peanuts. You want to try to get rid of any unpopped kernels that may be lingering in the bags. Nobody wants to break their teeth on that while eating the popcorn.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar and corn syrup together. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and add baking soda, vanilla, and salt.
Pour caramel over popcorn and peanuts and stir to combine. (This is easier if you have a larger pan, but just keep folding the mixture until the popcorn seems evenly coated in caramel)
Place pan in oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool and store in airtight containers. It will keep for a while, and it makes a great gift! This recipe makes A LOT, so feel free to cut it in half.