Things that are too delicious to be allowed in my house…

Sweet & Salty Caramel Corn, otherwise known as evil incarnate

Sweet & Salty Caramel Corn, otherwise known as evil incarnate

I have pretty decent willpower when it comes to food — with a few notable exceptions. At the top of that list resides the Jalapeño Cheeto (not to be confused with Flaming Hot Cheetos whose only redeeming quality is this excellent video). I don’t know what magic took place to make Jalapeno Cheetos even more delicious than the original flavor, but it worked. These things are the straight-up definition of addictive and I am absolutely powerless against them.

My initial encounter was a few years ago when my husband left a small bag open on the kitchen counter before he left for work. I came home early and poured out a few nibbles before folding up the bag and putting it away. Those few bites was all it took. I kept creeping back into the kitchen and sneaking handfuls until the bag was (shamefully) empty.

When my husband came home, I told him he was forbidden from bringing them into our house ever again. While he hasn’t completely complied with that request, they are thankfully a rare indulgence.

I mention this story because I have recently discovered  — thanks yet again to my husband, bearer of evil temptations — something just as hauntingly addictive as those spicy, cheesy morsels.

Behold, the most perfectly crunchy, salty and sweet caramel corn ever.

Can you hear the angels singing?

Can you hear the angels singing?

This caramel corn is incredible — supremely crunchy, not at all sticky, and so full of buttery goodness that it’s downright impossible to ignore. My husband brought me home some from a batch he made at work and then (for some crazy reason) though we ought to make another batch at home.

It’s so good that — in a rather ironic twist — several of my co-workers have forbidden me from making it again. Or at least, from bringing it into the office. It appears I’m not the only one unable to resist its charm.

In fact, just because we needed to stop eating it, we gave the last bag away to the guys who delivered our new couch. I think they were perplexed by the gift, but I bet you dollars to doughnuts after one bite they were hooked too.

Sweet & Salty Caramel Corn

Magically delicious addictive

So if you’re going to a party (Superbowl, anyone?), making goodie bags for friends or simply have stronger willpower than I do, you should make this very soon. It’s amazing.

Caramely goodness

Caramely goodness

after the baking soda is added in

Bubbling up after the baking soda is added in…

Gently mix to incorporate

Mixing gently to  incorporate the caramel…

It's actually pretty good just like this, though soft and sticky.

It’s actually pretty good just like this, though soft and sticky.

After baking it's crunchy and divine.

After baking it’s crunchy and divine.

Salty & Sweet Caramel Corn

  • 4-5 quarts of popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup kernels)
  • 1/2 cup glucose (you can also use light corn syrup)
  • 1 tsp crunchy salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spread popped popcorn out on sheet pans and stick in the oven. This step isn’t essential but it will help dry out the popcorn. Oh, make sure any unpopped kernels are tossed out — you don’t want to break anyone’s teeth!

While the popcorn is in the oven, melt the butter with the glucose and sugar in a large heavy-bottomed pot, stirring often to avoid scorching. (You really want a big pot — the mixture will bubble quite a bit.)

Mixture will begin to boil. Allow it to cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 250 degrees, about 5 minutes.

Add the vanilla and the salt and mix well.

Remove pan from heat and add the baking soda. Beware — this is where the mixture will go crazy and boil up so be prepared.

Once the caramel mixture is done, add the popcorn to a (very) large bowl and drizzle the caramel over it, mixing gently. Don’t stress if the popcorn is not evenly coated. It will continue to be mixed.

Place caramel corn on 2 sheet pans lined with greased parchment paper and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. The finished product should be crunchy, not tacky.

Taste for salt. If it needs more, add some crunchy flakes.

Allow to cool and try to stop eating it. I dare you.

Sweet & Salty Caramel Corn

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16 thoughts on “Things that are too delicious to be allowed in my house…

  1. Two of my favorite snacks that I don’t allow in my house either very often — Cheetohs (not jalapeño though) and carmel corn of just about any kind!

    • You would love this stuff — we actually made it the Monday you left which is pretty sad. And I think you should try the Jalapeno Cheetos sometime. I know you’re a sucker for the original ones, but they are ridiculously good. More zesty, maybe than spicy. (Now I wish I had a bag of them!)

    • Evil, I know, but it’s so good I can’t help but entice. I was actually considering making it tomorrow “for the Superbowl” (sure) but as there will just be three of us watching the game I really can’t excuse it. But I might buy a bag of Cheetos… 😉

  2. That’s pure gold! I’m gonna make some — do you think my kids will like that?? 😉 (I’m also going to look for jalapeño Cheetos. I love Cheetos, as you may recall from the post I did about them.)

    • How have you not had Jalapeño cheetos? You, a lover of chips! Though I know you often go for the crazy flavored ones. Which by the way, have you seen the McClure chips? I love their bloody mary mix — had no idea they made a bloody mary (or spicy pickle!) chip. But, seriously, check out those Cheetos. They are happiness in a bag. Also I think maybe, just maybe, your kids might like this caramel corn… =)

      • I will hunt them down. And I will hunt McClure chips now that you have dangled bloody mary chips in front of me. I’m mostly into chicharrones these days. Pork chips!

  3. I very much like that lead photo. Caramel Corn is so very tempting — I’d usually only allow it at work so that I didn’t accidentally eat an entire bag. I’m actually supposed to be doing something else right now, but got tempted by this post.

  4. Jalapeño cheetos are good? Really? I just assumed they’d be icky but, if you like them . . . And do you know, even though I make all that other candy, I’ve never made caramel popcorn! Maybe that should change!

    • They are SOOOOO good! Seriously. Everyone I know who has tried them is borderline obsessed with them. I think it’s because they aren’t really super spicy, it’s just enough, and they are still cheesy and crunchy and fantastic. The flaming hot cheetos though are to be avoided at all costs — terrible stuff! And how have you of all people never made caramel corn?! That’s crazy talk. Maybe that needs to be your snow day project!

    • Ha! I’m sure I should be, but I think I’ve got a case of the January/February blues — which can only be chased away with cocktails, cheesy pastas and, well, more cheese. I have been trying to resist all the sugary treats in my house though. This stuff was a (delicious) downfall. =)

  5. I’m slightly concerned that you’ve shared this. I don’t trust myself. I really don’t. My eyes are creeping towards the cupboards already …
    No, honestly though, it looks AMAZING! SO delicious! No wonder no one can resist it 🙂

    • It’s evil! Beware! There are few things that I’ve made where my will power has literally just crumbled and this was one. My husband actually called me at work the day after we made it and said “I think you need to bring the whole batch to your office because keeping it here is a terrible idea.” It’s like crack.

  6. The team here at waterfallsandcaribous are totally missing the popcorn gene – blech! Oh and apologies for the mass likes probably clogging up your inbox…we’ve been en route/internet-less for a while now and just catching up! Hope you’re well 🙂

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