Two things prompted the making of this caramel corn. First: an article circulating on Buzz Feed with crazy awesome popcorn recipes for all occasions. Second: between leaving on vacation at the end of May and returning in June, summer has *really* started here in Maui. It's hot. In the morning. In the afternoon. In the evening. Fortunately we still have nice breezes. My understanding is that those trade winds go away in September and October and then it's just plain hot. In the 7 months I've been here, I have turned on the AC in my car (and it's on at work by default), but I haven't tested out the window unit in my Ohana. Lots of windows and ceiling fans have done the trick so far. And what does the weather have to do with caramel corn? I still have a sweet tooth, but turning on the oven loses even more appeal.
I thought I was going to use my long standing caramel corn recipe. But after going to the store once (and dropping $27.50 on exactly 6 items), I realized that I didn't have corn syrup. And I wasn't going back to get it. So, I started searching for "no corn syrup" recipes online and came across a couple different options. I decided to pick the one that promoted no-bake corn and ran with it. Click here to see the original recipe on From The Lilypad.
Since this is Hawaii, macadamia nuts can go on or in everything and caramel corn is no exception.
What You Need
10 cups popped pop corn
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup dry roasted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
What You Do
Put your popped popcorn in a large bowl for easy tossing with the caramel sauce.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Then add the brown sugar and water. Stir until combined and then heat until boiling, for about 5 minutes (technically, the soft ball stage - if it coats the back of your spoon, should be good to go). Remove from heat and add the vanilla and baking soda. When you add the baking soda, the sauce will get lighter and fluffier. Stir until the sauce is fluffy (for lack of a better word).
Drizzle some of the caramel over the corn, toss/stir and then add the rest of the sauce and the nuts. You want to do this quickly, because once the sauce cools, you won't be able to drizzle it anywhere. Once your popcorn is coated in caramel, turn it out onto wax paper (on your counter or on a cookie sheet) in a thin layer to cool. Once cooled, break it apart and store in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag.
Just For Fun...
I went to Scotland and Ireland for vacation and just got back last week. We went on a great day tour from Edinburgh with a tour company called The Hairy Coo. Not only was the bus painted like a coo, but we went on a "coo safari" and got to feed the coos. While wearing cow hats, no less. I love vacation.