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Candied popcorn

December 26, 2009

Sorry for the little break!  I observe Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, which lasts from sundown on Friday night to an hour after sundown on Saturday night.  I don’t work, use money or electricity, and therefore I don’t blog!  So here’s a little rewind:

Christmas Eve night, Mr. Boy decided a Manhattan excursion was out but I’m going to annoy him until we go ice skating anyway so we decided to pay homage to the time-honored Jewish Christmas: Takeout and a movie.  I already don’t remember what we saw…The Sandra Bullock one?  Cute, unmemorable.  But the snack I snuck in?  Winner winner popcorn dinner.

candied popcorn, ready for the munchin'

One fact I can tell you about Mr. Boy is that he looooooves popcorn.  At least once a week, he will text message me asking for popcorn, which is usually his way of suggesting we go to a movie.  This time in an effort to win awesome girlfriend points I got there first.  First of all, I remembered to buy microwave popcorn when I went grocery shopping, which is something I neeeeeveeerrr have in the pantry (ick, I don’t eat it, but he does).  Second, when I was going through the cupboards trying to decide what to make for dinner, I happened across a bag of popcorn kernels!  The idea wheels started churning, then I saw this recipe and thought I had found a winner.  It felt like kitchen kismet.  Of course it did.  This is perfect!

Well, let’s just say, in practice, I was less than successful.  I should rename this blog Kitchen Fail Blog.  Fail Kitchen.  Something with “fail.”  Because, apparently, that’s all I can do, kinda.

ingredients prepped... I felt a little like Rachael Ray

The trouble all started when I looked in my cupboard and realized I had about half a cup of regular sugar left(I use Florida Crystals).  As you can see in the image above, that bad boy’s empty.  Too much sugar usage in my kitchen… Anywho, I figured my bag of demerara sugar (hiding behind the empty cane sugar bag in the pic) would be a fine substitution.

organic sugary goodness...can't be bad

Little did I know that demerara sugar does not melt.  It ended up looking like this when I added heat:

scary, I know

That looked like some pissed off bioform oozing out of the Black Lagoon, so I freaked out and shut the flame off, not wanting to agitate the sugar beast further.

freshly popped corn and toasted walnuts

But then I thought, hey, I did pop all this popcorn (and toast these walnuts). Let’s see what happens when we add it to the sugar.

Well, what happens is, nothing really.  I was too busy working to snap photos of this, but I dumped the popcorn and nuts into the sugary death, then stirred and stirred and stirred with all my might to try to get the sugar to coat and stick to the popcorn and nuts, but it didn’t really happen.  So then I thought, maybe I could bake it and that will make the sugar melt, so I dumped the whole thing onto a cookie sheet and stuck it in the oven, taking it out every five-ten minutes to stir the mixture and try to get the sugar onto the other stuff.  Remember, I did not yet know that demerara does not melt.  That didn’t really work, but I did learn what happens when you bake popped popcorn (again, nothing really, but it comes a little crispier, which I really like).

Whateva, WHATEVA, I do what I want, and I really really wanted some kind of caramel-y sweet and salty popcorn snack.  When I looked, I noticed that some pieces of popcorn had successfully attracted coatings of crystal-y sugar, and upon sampling, I decided, yeah, this is actually pretty awesome, so I put the popcorn into a container for storage/easy snackage.

see what I'm talkin' about?

Basically, I had set out to create caramel popcorn, because damn, that stuff’s good.  I tossed around the idea of making it spicy like at the link above, but (for once) I wasn’t in the mood for heated sweets, so I just added some sea salt to offset the sweet.  This is NOT caramel popcorn, but I’ve learned that, as long as you give anything a convincing name, people will probably eat it if it tastes good.  Case in point: Mr. Boy ate more than half the batch at the movies that night (leaving the delicious clems I brought to me – what a good boy).

If you want to make caramel popcorn, don’t do what I did.  Use real sugar.  It works.  If you don’t, you might end up with this situation:

a tray full of useless demerara sugar

That’s what I was left with after packing up the popcorn.  No one likes wasted sugar.

But do POP YOUR OWN POPCORN!  This is super fun!  How have I never done this before?  I’m already considering returning the box of microwave nastiness I bought and replacing it with plain kernels, and doing this ALL THE TIME.  I might like this better than melting chocolate. I take that back.  If you haven’t done this before, try it (you probably have done this before, I’m just late to the party on everything).

What you need:

  • a few tbsp up to 1/4c oil (olive, vegetable, canola)
  • 2/3 c popcorn kernels
  • large pot
  • large bowl (or something else to keep it in, although I suggest just eating)
  • seasoning of choice (salt, cinnamon, chili powder, uh anything really)

The method:  Heat a little (a few tbsp-1/4 cup) oil of your choice (I used olive) in the bottom of a large pot.  Toss in a single kernel while the oil is heating.


When that kernel pops, you’re ready to go.  Add the rest of your kernels to the pot and cover, then wait.  Let the kernels pop, shaking the pot from time to time to help the popping along.  When the popping has subsided, remove from the heat and pour into storage/eating receptacle of choice.  It’s probably best when you eat it right away.

plain and delicious popcorn

Storage shouldn’t be a problem though.  Just make it when there’s people in the house and I promise it will be gone in an instant.  It rocks and tastes a million times better than store-bought microwave crap.  I don’t even like popcorn and I like this stuff.  DO ITTTTTTT.  No pressure.

My mom and my brother both ended up coming over for Shabbat, so they ate whatever Mr. Boy didn’t finish.  Good deal!  I spent my Friday evening and Saturday cuddled up with my cat re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which somehow seemed like the perfect holiday choice.

I hope your holiday was restful and filled with love and family and good eats!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 26, 2009 7:24 pm

    Hi, you have a beautiful blog. Just stumbled into it. Your story is very interesting. Good writer. Merry Christmas.

    • December 26, 2009 8:41 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet comment! Merry Christmas!

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