Almond Caramel Corn

It has been far too long since I posted last.  All I can say is that I’ve been very busy, but who hasn’t been?  Every time I sit down to draft a post, I just don’t know what to say…  But after making this caramel corn, I knew I had to share this extraordinary recipe, good post or not.

Yesterday was probably the best Halloween I’ve ever had.  My friends and I dressed up as Big Bang Theory characters, and my sister dressed up as Slenderman.

I mean, seriously.  You can’t get much better than Big Bang Theory and Slenderman.

I dressed up as Amy; D dressed up as my partner in crime, Sheldon; and A dressed up as fun-loving Penny.  I must say, our costumes were quite spot-on.  A did an incredible job on replicating Penny’s Cheesecake Factory waitress uniform, my sister replicated the horror of Slenderman magnificently, and D replicated Sheldon’s getup to perfection.

Shortly after beginning our quest for candy, however, I realized just how much of a bad idea it was to wear my heeled Oxfords…  So, as a word of advice, it doesn’t matter how darn cute your high-heels are; don’t wear them for Halloween.  You might not be as lucky as me.  I had a Sheldon who gave me multiple piggyback rides.

At home, we traded candy and stuffed ourselves silly, which brings us to this caramel corn.

I love caramel corn and I love Cracker Jack.  This recipe is a delightful combination of the two that is approximately one billion times better than anything that you can buy at the store.

Fluffy white popcorn and several generous handfuls of almonds are enrobed in a silky, sticky salted caramel.  The whole gooey mass is then baked until crisp and generously sprinkled with a finishing touch of salt.  Then the cooled goodness is drizzled with an alluring touch of white chocolate for a final gourmet touch.

Needless to say, this caramel corn is very addictive.  I literally had to put my hands up in the air and walk away while jarring it before I got sick (though that did happen later in the evening).

It was worth it.

Almond Caramel Corn

Adapted from the October 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Living

1/2 cup popcorn kernels, popped (I used my air popper)

3/4 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped

1 stick unsalted butter

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

5 ounces white chocolate, chopped, optional

Preheat oven to 250 F.

Place popped popcorn and almonds in a large bowl.  Melt the butter in a tall-sided heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the corn syrup, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Cook until sugar dissolves, stirring once or twice.  Raise heat to high and bring to a boil (do not stir).  Boil, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers at 240 F, about 2 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda.

Pour caramel over popcorn mixture, stirring to combine thoroughly.  Transfer to 2 baking sheets, spreading into a single layer.  Bake 30-45 minutes, stirring twice.  To test for doneness, remove a piece of popcorn and allow to cool for 1 minute.  If the popcorn is crisp, the popcorn is ready.  Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of salt.  Let cool completely.

Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water.  Stir until melted and remove from heat.  Pour the white chocolate into a plastic bag and snip a small hole in the corner.  Drizzle over the cooled popcorn.  Place the caramel corn in the refrigerator and chill for 10 minutes, to allow the white chocolate to set, before breaking into pieces.  Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Makes 12 cups

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