Popcorn by itself can be a healthy snack. A simple, natural fiber source with a satisfying crunch and filling bulk. These little explosions of overheated cellulose can provide up to 70% of a body’s daily recommended fiber. What else could one want in a snack?
Sugar. Add sugar. Add sugar, and maybe some nuts, and definitely add fats.
- 4 Qt. Popped Corn
- 2 C. lightly salted Peanuts (opt.)
- 1 C. Brown Sugar
- 1/2 C. Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 C. Karo Syrup
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
Start by popping the popcorn kernels by your favorite method. Be sure to separate out any unpopped kernels. Place half of the popcorn and half of the peanuts in a large oven-safe bowl.
In a small dish combine the baking soda and salt.
Place brown sugar, butter and syrup in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Turn heat to medium to begin melting the butter and sugars together. Stir frequently with a heat proof flexible spatula to fully incorporate the fats and sugars.
Once the butter and sugars are melted, increase heat to medium-high. Boil the syrup at a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Be very careful, sugars boil at a very high temperature, it will burn you and cling to the skin.
Remove the boiling sugar from heat. Carefully pour in the vanilla and stir quickly. This will cause a large reaction from the molten sugar; be careful but not alarmed. Add the soda and salt mixture and stir quickly again.
Immediately pour the molten mix over the dry mixture in the large bowl. Cover with the remainder of popcorn and nuts, then pour remainder of sugar mixture over the top.
Using two large spatulas, toss the mixture together as you would a large salad. Be careful not to fling the hot sugar coated kernels out of the bowl. Turn the mixture a few times to begin coating the popcorn evenly.
Remove your spatulas before placing the bowl into a 250° oven. You will toss the corn mixture every fifteen minutes for an hour.
Use whatever nuts you like. I usually double the caramel recipe for more candy crunch. If you want to get adventurous try adding Redhots or frozen chocolate covered peanuts. Add these after you have finished the baking phase, while the mixture is still warm but not hot enough to melt everything. Experiment, play, crunch…The fiber is good for you, right?