I was all set to post that autumn is in the air. Then yesterday happened. The hottest day of summer so far. After a week or so of refreshingly cool temps and a decidedly moderate summer overall. Today was equally muggy and hot, but at least there has been a breeze. We will return to reasonable weather by Friday.
Autumn food inspiration
Despite summer mocking me, my thoughts have already turned to autumn. I have an acorn squash, waiting to become soup. I roasted golden beets and my daughter and I ate them, drizzled with good cider vinegar. I almost pulled out the leaf-motif place mats and other decor, but stopped short as summer barrelled through again. I did, however, make caramel corn. For some reason, it feels like an autumn treat. Probably because it’s such a staple at fall fairs and other such events. Not to mention the memories of Hallowe’ens past that it evokes (but let’s not jump that far ahead just yet).
Yes, I bought it for the tin
Homemade crispy, crunchy caramel corn is easy to make. I prefer using Lyle’s Golden Syrup over the usual corn syrup. I found a tin of it and bought it, unsure of what it would be used for. I just loved the tin! The flavour is richer and has far more personality than corn syrup, and is perfect in this recipe. Corn syrup can be used, if you can’t find Lyle’s. Adding a sprinkling of coarse salt at the end gives a little balance to the sweetness and takes this treat to a new level.
Salted Caramel Corn
4 quarts popped popcorn (about a half cup of quality kernels)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 250F.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment and butter it lightly.
Pour the popcorn into a large, oven proof bowl and place in the oven to stay warm while preparing the caramel (keeping the popcorn warm gives you a longer window to work with the caramel).
Mix brown sugar, golden syrup, butter and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a good sized, heavy saucepan (it will expand quite a bit). Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil it 5 minutes without stirring, then remove it from heat. Carefully stir in the baking soda and vanilla; mix well.
Remove the popcorn from the oven (careful, the bowl is hot). Pour the syrup over the warm popcorn, stirring with a spatula to coat evenly. Pour it onto your baking sheet and sprinkle the remaining salt over it.
Bake for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and slide the parchment onto a another baking pan.
Once cool, carefully break any large chunks apart. Store in well sealed, air tight container, if you can keep from eating it all right away. It will keep well for a week or more.