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Snacks

Homemade Caramel Corn

 

Happy Thirsty Thurs-yay! I’m briefly diverting from my standard Thursday beverage post to bring you this caramel corn recipe and for a very good reason. It’s National Caramel Corn day today. Yes, that is correct, there is a day to celebrate the deliciousness that is caramel corn. I’ve made this version at least several times (recently) and it’s always a hit. It actually won first prize at my company pot luck and was recently called a “piece of artwork” and “evidence that we live in a decadent society”. When it comes to caramel corn, I think it’s appropriate to be a bit self-indulgent. Especially with this recipe because it’s so freaking good. The process to make this is slow and steady. It does require a bit of patience and ample amounts of taste testing to ensure it’s doneness. But it’s absolutely worth the effort. Really….go make some….seriously!

Instructions

  1. Preaht the oven to 250 degrees and line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the popcorn your preferred method. I've done stove top and recently used my air popper. Both ways have come out perfectly.
  3. Divide the popcorn between two large bowls and set aside.
  4. In a saucepan, melt the unsalted butter. Once the butter is melted add in the salt, corn syrup and brown sugar. Heat the mixture, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil. Let the mixture boil for 5 minutes untouched.
  5. Once the mixture has boiled, remove it from the heat. Add in the vanilla and baking soda. At this point the mixture will bubble/fizz up a bit.
  6. Pour half of the caramel over each bowl of popcorn. Mix (quickly) to incorporate the caramel, covering as much of the popcorn as you can. I used my wooden salad spoons for this.
  7. Once the caramel is incorporated pour the popcorn onto the two baking sheets breaking up as much as you can. Do not worry if you have clumps remaining, you can break these up as you cook the caramel corn.
  8. Cook the caramel corn for 40-50 minutes stirring every 10 minutes. At the 40 minute mark I begin to test the popcorn for doneness. You want the outside to be crunchy yet soft in the middle. The caramel will harden as it cools so be sure not to overcook.
  9. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Notes

This recipe is from Annie’s Eats.

Jalapeno Popper Twice Baked Potato

Oh Jalapeno Poppers. Where do I even begin with these. To me, they represent some of the best snack food. They are spicy, savory, cheesy…what more is there to love? I had found (and have since made a gazillion times) this fantastic dip recipe on Annie’s Eats. This was the inspiration for my creation of the twice baked potato.The beauty of this recipe is that it’s easily adjusted. You can add more/less ingredients depending on the size potato you use. Toss some extra love aka cheese in there to make them just a touch more indulgent. Want some additional crunch? Bulk up on those Panko breadcrumbs. This makes a fun side dish or even a nice lunch if you are looking for something different. This was the perfect edition to our Super Bowl spread and definitely something I plan to make again. You can adjust how spicy the dish is by adding more/less of the jalapeno peppers. I tend to like the heat but not over the top spice. Alternately, you can chop/dice the jalapeno so  you’re not biting into a full wheel of spiciness.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the over to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Rub them with oil. You can also sprinkle them with a bit of salt if you would like. Bake for 1 hour or until they are cooked through. To check doneness, pierce with a fork. If it pierces easily, you can remove them from the oven.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, you can prepare the jalapeno popper mix. With a wooden spoon, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, chilies, jalapeno peppers and shredded cheeses in a bowl.
  4. Once the potatoes are cooked through, remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. Once cooled to the touch, cut the potatoes in half and remove the inside with a spoon, leaving enough to support the potato.
  5. Add the potato to the jalapeno popper mix and combine thoroughly. Add mixture back into the potato skins. Top with panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Spray each top with a bit of cooking spray.
  6. Return sheet pan to the over and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Until heated through.

Notes

Original Concept from me. Jalapeno mixture recipe from Annies Eats.