Monday, September 13, 2010

snack time!

toffee popcorn
So I finally made the toffee popcorn we make at work---with a small alteration, that is. I made the same amount of sauce but used less popcorn. I wanted the kernels to be more thoroughly covered with toffee, just like the caramel corn at Johnson's Popcorn down in Ocean City, New Jersey. I popped the popcorn in a brown paper lunch bag in the microwave since I don't have an air popper. I didn't know you could do that and was extremely pleased with the results. I put a quarter cup of kernels in at a time, folded over the top of the bag and microwaved for two minutes.
It's easier to make the popcorn with two people---one to pour the sauce and the other to toss the popcorn vigorously in the bowl. I had to make it by myself, but kept getting splattered, so consider yourself warned....
I have a feeling I'll be making a lot of this in the future, especially since it's officially football season now. Let's go COLTS (and concurrently, Arian Foster, where did you come from??? You RUINED MY DAY). And let's go Giants, too. Eli didn't look too bad on Sunday, even with the 3 interceptions.

1/2 cup unpopped corn kernels
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 pound of butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon table salt

Pop the kernels in two batches, a quarter cup at a time, in a brown paper bag in the microwave. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes, or until the popping has slowed.

Thoroughly butter a large mixing bowl and place the popped popcorn inside.

Combine the sugar, butter and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Place over high heat and stir the mixture continuously. The mixture will thicken, foam up and gradually darken. The picture above shows the toffee about half way through the cooking process. It is thickening at that point, but still not dark. Cook until the toffee is a medium tan color I call teddy-bear brown.

Turn off the heat and add the salt and vanilla, stirring quickly to combine.

Immediately pour the toffee over the popcorn. Using two spatulas, toss the popcorn with the toffee until all the popcorn is covered.

Pour the popcorn onto the counter and separate the kernels by hand. Work quickly and carefully because the the toffee will be extremely hot. (At work, some people wear latex gloves sprayed with Pam to keep kernels from sticking to their fingers.)

Make sure the toffee popcorn is completely cool before storing in an airtight container.