December 23, 2005

Tis the season to indulge - Caramel Popcorn

A German style Christmas market is held in downtown Chicago every year. It was my first time visiting such a market - open air with stalls selling everything from home made ornaments, crafts and lace to authentic German foods such as bratwurst, stollen and frankfurter. We had a lovely time checking out the products on display and trying out different dishes.

The most interesting thing I had was a German wine called Gluhwein (meaning wine that glows). It was served in the cutest shoe shaped mugs that you could carry home as souvenirs. Gluhwein is a full bodied red wine blended with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, oranges and lemons, and drunk WARM. It had a citrusy-spicy taste and was perfect for the Chicago chill.

Christmas Treats
The experience inspired me enough to make home made treats for my friends and family for Christmas, rather than send the predictable box of of chocolates. As luck would have it, Martha showed a recipe for caramel popcorn.

It didn't require too many ingredients, could be made in less than an hour and kept well for a long time. Of course she made the caramel from scratch while I cheated! I used ready made caramel.

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CARAMEL POPCORN
1 14 oz. packet of caramel (such as Kraft; contains about 50 pieces)
1-2 tbsp water
8-10 cups popped, unbuttered popcorn (organic if possible)
1 cup peanuts or almonds (I used a mix)
3 tbsp butter/ margarine

Preheat oven to 300°F. Put water, butter and caramel in a saucepan over low heat. Cook till caramel is completely melted stirring frequently so no lumps are formed.

Combine popcorn and nuts in a bowl. Add the caramel when done and toss to coat evenly.

Spread on a greased baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Stir and then bake for an additional 5-6 minutes. Cool completely and break into clusters.

6 Comments:

Blogger Nandita said...

Hey Ashwini,
I ate a whole large serving of Caramel popcorn in the theatre while watching Phir Hera Pheri- I just love the taste, so when I came across this recipe of yours i hurried and clicked the link, only to find that I dont get those caramel blocks out here :( SO got to rely on movies only to eat that delicious treat

1:00 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Hey N sorry about that :-) But let me give you Martha's recipe that involves making caramel from stratch. Good luck

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ashwini
recipe sounds good but what size bag of caramels (in oz.) if possible, and what size bags of popcorn (3 bags @ ? oz. each bag)
thanks

9:01 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Anon, the caramel would be a 14oz packet. Where the corn is concerned I picked up Safeway's organic O brand, dont remember the quantity exactly, maybe around 4-5oz. When the caramel dissolves you can judge how much of the corn to add...little corn and they get a nice thick coating of caramel, more corn and they are less sweet and not heavily coated. Hope this helps.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Savithri said...

I've tried this recipe! It is easy and tastes great. I saw another blog that has an interesting post about spiced caramel popcorn in which she added cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and clove! http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000008.html

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have any of you ever had fishers popcorn. It is the best stuff I have ever had. They make it by hand on the boardwalk in maryland and delaware. I send it for christmas presents from www.fishers-popcorn.com

7:14 PM  

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