September 25, 2012

Caramel Almond Popcorn

Caramel almond popcorn recipe

My little girl gets her braces on tomorrow, so I thought I'd whip up a batch of homemade caramel corn to celebrate her last night with unshackled teeth. I'm pretty sure caramel corn is near the top of the "do not eat" list she's sure to get from her orthodontist.  I love the stuff but, as with many sweets, the caramel corn I find in the grocery store is too sweet and never has enough nuts for me. Plus, I'm not crazy about corn syrup, high-fructose or otherwise, so why not make it myself? This is a definite tooth-buster with brittle sweet and salty caramel, crunchy popcorn and creamy almond slivers. It does not last long around here.

Caramel Almond Popcorn


4 cups plain popped popcorn
1 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Butter a rimmed baking sheet or line with waxed paper. Spread popped corn over sheet and set aside. Toast almonds in a dry pan on stove top over medium heat until golden (or on a baking sheet in oven at 350ยบ for 10 minutes). Cool and sprinkle over popcorn. Heat butter, water, honey and sugar in heavy pan until boiling, stirring frequently. Boil approximately 5 minutes, untouched. Remove from heat and add extract, salt and baking soda, and stir vigorously. It will puff up into a froth. Pour over popcorn and almonds on baking sheet and toss quickly and thoroughly to spread caramel (this can be messy...a few pieces flew to the floor where they were crunched up by my grateful dog). Let cool (ha, ha), then break into chunks. Store in airtight container.

Toasted almonds
Caramel before boil
Caramel at boil (Note: Right after this was taken, my camera fell into the pot. Seriously. And lived to take another shot...go Canon!)
Puffing with pride after baking soda addition
Cooling down
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