Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dark Brown Sugar Caramel Popcorn

C and H Dark brown sugar. Don't leave your grocery store without it.This week, I got a $20 gift card from C and H and Domino sugars. The money was meant to help cover the cost of creating a treat from their website and posting about it here on Prudence Pennywise. The truth of the matter is that irregardless of the $20 gift card, I ALWAYs buy C and H dark brown sugar. The flavor is deep and caramely, perfect for adding depth to any recipe that calls for brown sugar. Cheap grocery store brand brown sugar just doesn't have the same flavor quality, and you end up unfortunately getting what you paid for. When it comes to C and H dark brown sugar, I'm a life long loyal customer. So I'm happy to toot their holiday horn today. You've got to head over to their website and check out their great holiday gift ideas. Check them out here.
My favorite idea was for caramel corn:
"To ship baked goods with popcorn as cushion, add 1/2 of caramelized popcorn into a large clear plastic bag. Insert bag into shipping box. Adjust bag and popcorn to fill bottom of box. Add your baked goods, which should be in a sealed plastic bag. Top off with the remaining of the popcorn mixture and securely seal the plastic bag. Be sure to release enough air so that you can close the box. Your baked items will safely be floating in the delicious caramelized popcorn, ready to ship. "
I'd heard of packing in plain styrofoam-y popcorn, but caramel corn is an entirely different matter altogether. Wouldn't you love to open a present and have this sweet popcorn come spilling out instead of those packing peanuts that kids always make a mess with? And even if you aren't packing up for shipping, Dark Brown Sugar Caramel Popcorn makes a sensational gift. It's easy and quick to make, plus it's extremely inexpensive. But then again, why give it all away for a gift? Wouldn't your family like a big bowl of it in front of the fireplace with a Christmas story tonight?
Now here's the recipe, and it's fantastic. I make it all the time, but with one significant difference. I don't always bake it in the oven when I'm done. Sometimes I want chewy, gooey caramel popcorn, so I skip the oven, and simply toss it and eat it. For packing up for give-aways, I always use the baking option. In fact, I'm making some today to hand out to my top-scoring college students on our most recent Humanities test. No wonder my Winter classes are already full.


Dark Brown Sugar Caramel Popcorn
Estimated Cost: $3.00
1 cup salted butter
2 cups C&H Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 quarts popped popcorn
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 250°F. Line two large shallow baking dishes with parchment paper. Divide popcorn and spread into baking dishes, set aside. For caramel: In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt, continuously stirring, bring to a boil. Let boil for 3-4 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat, stir in baking soda and vanilla. While caramel is still hot, stream over popcorn. Stir caramel into popcorn with a wooden spoon to coat. (Stop here if you like it gooey and chewy.) Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Break apart popcorn with your hands.
Here's a cute packaging idea for a cookie dough give away from the Domino's website...

Next Up:
More ideas for Homemade Christmas Gifts...

27 comments:

Adrienne said...

Oh baby! Humanities + caramel popcorn = nirvana. Thanks for the cute gift ideas!

The Japanese Redneck said...

So good looking, we love popcorn. Any kind.

Cute packaging ideas!

Susan said...

I love, love, love your blog and have made countless recipes. This looks like a winner, too. Thank you!

p.s. "irregardless?" the grammarian in me cringed a little. :)

Michal said...

yum. yum. yum. did you ever make that caramel popcorn recipe with us in college where we buttered the table and then mixed the popcorn and hot caramel with our hands? it was always such a sticky mess, but such a great, chewy caramel corn.

since then, i have acquired a taste for the baked kind as well. i will have to try this recipe. and i love the idea of giving away rolls of homemade cookie dough. many of my friends won't take the time to make it themselves but would love to get it like that.

i'm pretty sure that irregardless is a word.:) i just looked it up on dictionary.com and found this: Usage note:
"Irregardless is considered nonstandard because of the two negative elements ir- and -less. It was probably formed on the analogy of such words as irrespective, irrelevant, and irreparable. Those who use it, including on occasion educated speakers, may do so from a desire to add emphasis. Irregardless first appeared in the early 20th century and was perhaps popularized by its use in a comic radio program of the 1930s."--i guess that you and i qualify as those occasional educated speakers who use this non-standard adverb.

Julie Harward said...

Oh, this looks SO good..but I must confess my fav is peanut butter popcorn! Hey, I have a question...that apple pie (from a couple of posts back)you know how I loved it...can I do other kinds of pies just like that? I bought some fillings today, cherry-apple-peach, they were in kerr jars.."Bakers" brand from Walmart. It would be so neat if this easy dough and crumb topping could work with these fillings too..only bake them 1 hour maybe? Hope to hear from you~:D

Adrienne said...

Ok I have a non-grammar question: Half the time I make caramel it turns into hard candy cemented to the bottom of the pan that takes days to soak/scrub out. I noticed you mentioned letting this boil without stirring. I know I stir mine. Could that be the problem?

Anonymous said...

I love your website. Do you have a good old-fashion style chocolate fudge recipe? I would love to find a good one and figured you might be just the person to ask.
Thanks!

jillbert said...

Caramel corn is so good, and caramel corn with dark brown sugar sounds even better!

gigi said...

I love caramel corn but have never made it with dark brown sugar, sounds yummy!

Prudy said...

Susan:
Wow-I was raised on irregardless and never ever picked it apart until this moment. Yes-it might make a grammarian cringe. I'm so glad you told me. I love grammar, even when I butcher it. I cut my teeth on irregardless; I can still hear my mom responding to all my senseless justifications wtih "IRREGARDLESS!" Should I retire it??? Ill give it a try, but it might be too late for me. At least I'll be able to teach the charges correctly now. Thanks so much for your kind words and appreciation for the recipes! Keep on coming and if you spot any other iffy words, set me straight.

Prudy said...

Julie:
I'm not sure if any other fruit would work. I'm also not sure why I never thought about it before. Wouldn't a caramely peach pie be delicious? If you try if first, let me know! As for the prepared filling, I'd say bake it one hour and take a peek and see where it's at.

Prudy said...

Adrienne:
Thank you for your cooking question. That's easier than grammar for certain. The main reason for not stirring caramel is so that the sugar doesn't crystallize. If your caramel gets hard, I suspect you are cooking it too far. Do you have a good thermometer??? Check it in boiling water. If not, add one to your early Christmas list.

Prudy said...

Anonymous:
Thanks for your kind words. How old-fashioned do you want your fudge to be? Do you want a cooked syrup fudge, or an easy marshmallow or condensed milk fudge? I like the easy ones and I'm hoping that's what you're looking for!

Robin Ennis Willson said...

Awww...now I'm hungry! that looks sooo good. I just have to make some this year. I'd never heard of that brand of brown sugar - I will look for it!

Brent and Tracie said...

Yum! How much does this recipe make of, say 1 quart freezer bags? I hope to send it to my siblings for finals week.

Catherine said...

that popcorn looks delicious! I can't wait to try it out. And I love the idea of using popcorn to pack a package. Thanks for sharing your great recipes and ideas.

We miss you guys. Our house feels lonely and boring after being so close to your family for so long!

Seth and Julie said...

I love caramel corn. I see myself eating this all through the holidays and straight on through to the new year. I am also a brown sugar snob and fiercely loyal to C&H.

I am cracking up at the "irregardless" debate. I think your writing is perfection. Susan would do far worse than cringe at my writing. In creative writing I learned that if I say a word, real or not, and you know what I mean, then it is fair game. As for grammar, phooey on grammar. I make up words, put punctuation where I like it and leave it out where I do not. Don't retire a word that has been with you for a lifetime. If junk like bootylicious is in the dictionary, which it is, then surely irregardless shouldn't be too much of a bother.

This is a cooking blog so keep the good grub coming and we'll all keep coming back, irregardless of your grammar. The fact that you are such a clever writer is just icing on the cake. Pun totally intended!

Anonymous said...

Gather roses while you may........................................

Catherine said...

Another feisty comment day! How fun! I'm with Julie, don't retire it. We were raised on "irregardless." Keep using it, irregardless of what anyone else thinks.

Seth and Julie said...

Uh-oh, did I sound feisty? I didn't mean to sound feisty. I liked Susan. She was nice. She said she loved the blog, she said it 3 times even.

No bad blood here, just being playful and silly.

Dede said...

Amen, dark brown sugar is SOOO good!

Washington Mom said...

This is DANGEROUS stuff!!! Thanks so much for the great recipe! We made a huge batch for my sons preschool class, but we consumed the whole thing before time to take it...so addicting!! I've made a second batch to share with his class and hid it! Keep the great recipes coming!!

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