Thursday, April 14, 2011

If all writing fails, put up a recipe and good lie.

A few years ago I attended a conference in Indiana in honor of the popcorn parade that would take place later that year.  I was asked to participate in the judging of the best brand of popcorn out on the market today. It was enlightening, to say the least, but the best part of the weekend was meeting none other than Orville Redenbacher himself.  I really couldn't believe that I was able to shake hands with the guy, considering he has been dead for nearly 15 years. He expressed his desire to remain the best of the best and then I kid you not, went into a detailed description of how that came to be in the first place.

It seems that after he graduated from Purdue University in 1928 he left the graduation ceremony with a degree in Agronomy.  However, as he was walking past one of his favorite parks that fine Spring morning he gasped at the beauty of an apricot tree with freshly new white blossoms. It was then that it hit him....  he would make popcorn out of those blossoms!  For the next few years he researched and tested and researched and tested some more to finally create a formula that extracted the perfect dried kernels out of those tree blossoms to make THE perfect light and airy popcorn.  Because popcorn really does pop on an apricot tree.

He then gave us his best secret yet.... he said that I would be an amazing fictional writer one day.
The man knows what he's talking about fo sho.
Now that you have amused me by reading my big fat lying story - I am going to give you my Caramel Corn recipe.  Because I am awesome like that.
Rowdy asks for this AT LEAST 1x a week (not that I make it that often.)  It's the only reason I will ever have corn syrup in my house.  

Carrie's Honest-to-Goodness Caramel Corn 
(because she's not a liar) 

10-12 cups plain air popped popcorn (Orville Redenbacher kernels really are the best)
2 sticks of salted butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp sea salt (you could use table salt)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp good vanilla (preferable La Vencedora)
1-2 cups pecans, walnuts or peanuts (optional)

Heat the oven to 200 degrees.
Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan.  Add the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Set the timer and cook for 4 minutes.  Take the pan off the heat and add the baking soda and vanilla and stir rapidly while it foams up.  Immediately pour over the popcorn and mix quickly with a spatula to cover all of it with the caramel. 

Pour popcorn onto a baking sheet and put in the oven for 25 minutes.  Stir well and put it back in for a couple more 25 minute intervals until bronze in color (about 1+ hours of cooking time.)  You can taste test done-ness by seeing if a popcorn kernel is crunchy when cooled.  You are really going to have to test out your oven temperature and time.  Sometimes I do it at 300 degrees and stir every 15-20 minutes to speed up the cooking time. Pour onto parchment or wax paper (not foil or it will stick) and break up large pieces with your spatula.  Let cool and enjoy!


Jocelyn Christensen said...

i love popcorn!

Patty Ann said...

Oh, this will be perfect for family night!!! Thanks for sharing.

Cherie said...

I am glad you are not a liar (wink)! You crack me up!
Thanks for the popcorn recipe it looks yummy!

Anonymous said...

I think its funny that your title says, "If all writing fails, put up a recipe," and then you write something having something to do with the recipe. So technically, writing did not fail --it just had a new twist to it. :)

Rachel said...

This turned out soooo good! You're the best!

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