The next Baked recipe is… popcorn! This recipe makes 24 cups of it… Who is going to halve (or quarter?!) the recipe, and who is going to share? Who is going to temper chocolate for this? Anyone sourcing out premium kernels? Posting date is February 26! Have fun!
Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts and Chocolate
Source: Baked Explorations, page 189
1 cup unpopped kernels or 24 cups popped corn
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1¼ cups salted peanuts
8 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, melted and tempered
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), melted and tempered
If you are starting with kernels, pop them using any method you prefer and let them cool. (We like a hot-air popper.) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Place the popcorn in a large roasting pan. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, start to melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and molasses, and stir gently with a heatproof spatula. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring only occasionally, until the mixture starts to boil. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and bring the syrup to the soft-ball stage, approximately 240 degrees F. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, the baking soda, and vanilla. Pour the caramel over the popcorn in large streams, then sprinkle with the peanuts. Use your spatula to fold the popcorn until it is completely coated with caramel.
Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to lift, flip, and coat the popcorn in the warm caramel, then continue baking for another 20 minutes. Cool the caramel popcorn in the pan for 5 minutes and transfer it to the lined sheet pan. Cool for approximately 15 minutes and drizzle the milk chocolate and dark chocolate in crisscross patterns over the top. Let the chocolate set before breaking the popcorn into serving-size pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Excerpted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2010 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.