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Popcorn - Sweet + Savory

the urban baker: Popcorn - Sweet + Savory

the urban baker

The Urban Baker is deliciously photographed blog about nourishing your family's soul through life in the kitchen. The recipes for fabulous savories and sweets are easily replicated and will inspire you.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Popcorn - Sweet + Savory

I didn't want to give the "guy" teachers Cake in a Jar. I thought they should get something a little less frilly.  Thus, this popcorn!  Eli was already mortified that he had to hand deliver goodies to his "middle school" teachers so why torture him anymore than I had to.  He said to me, as he was leaving the house that morning, "mom, I am not in elementary school anymore".  Yeah, so, what is that supposed to mean?  Am I hovering?

Anyway, I was reading one of my new favorite blog gals, Food Woolf (found her when I participated in the bake sale last month) and she posted about another one of my favorite gals; Nancy Silverton's spiced caramel popcorn.  The light bulb went off and I realized that this could be the perfect token of our "appreciation" for those few "guy" teachers.

The original recipe is from Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book (Brooke a.k.a. Food Woolf - created this recipe, inspired by Nancy's original )and since I love most things Nancy Silverton, I wanted to give it a try.  My friend, Vic (we go way back to middle school) and I spent a long overdue day together last Sunday and it was her desire to hang in the kitchen with me.  As much as I wanted to bake and create, I didn't want our day together to be just about cooking and dishes.  The popcorn gave us the best of both worlds.

Eli popped the corn while she and I made the caramel sauce.  It was so great having another pair of capable hands by my side.  While I was doing the finishing touches on the caramel sauce, Vic started our lunch.  She is one heck of a chopper!  I was impressed.  After we tossed the popcorn and spread it out on silpat pads, she and I sat down to a nice, quiet lunch, chatting, reminiscing, and laughing.

Spiced Caramel Corn

1 cup of almonds, toasted and loosely chopped
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1/3 cup un-popped popcorn
1/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 Tbls. brown rice syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cardamon, ground
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
13 tsp. Chinese allspice
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

to pop the corn:
• in a medium sized pot, heat the oil over high heat with one kernel.  when the pops, add the un-popped corn and cover with a lid ( I took a short cut here. I popped in the air popper.  big mistake.  I think it changed the texture of the final product.  I wouldn't suggest the air popper).  Once the corn begins to pop, shake consistently until you don't hear any more popping.  remove from heat.
to make the caramel
• off heat, combine water, sugar, spices, salt, vanilla extract and rice syrup in a large, deep pot, stir together.  Once blended, put the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil without stirring it.  Using a pastry brush dipped in water, remove any un-dissolved sugar from the side of the pan.
• continue cooking over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.  Tilt pan and swirl to prevent burning.  Wait for this turn a caramel color and starts to smoke.  Add the popcorn and the nuts, stir until completely coated, moving the skillet on and off heat.  Cook to a deep brown.
• pour onto your prepared cookie sheet (lined with silpat) and spread out evenly.  let cool completely before tasting!

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Blogger jocelyn said...

i was so sad too when my kids said "no more gifts for middle school teachers and high school teachers" . they deserve to be thanked as well just not sure how. good for you for doing it anyway.

May 8, 2010 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger Victoria said...

It was a great day! Your home is filled with so much love and wonderful food. Let's do it again. Vic

May 9, 2010 at 8:10 AM  

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