Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Maple and Apple Cider Caramel Corn

Planning to have a Halloween party? Need some vegan treats to serve? Enter caramel corn with a hint of maple and apple cider. Prepare to have your friends praise your treat making abilities. (Son #1 helped me stage tonight's photo)

- generous 1/4 cup popping corn
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp apple cider
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
1. Pop popcorn and place in a large bowl.
2. Place sugar, corn syrup, margarine, maple syrup, and cider in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the margarine melts and the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to med-hi and bring to bubbling. Without stirring, bring mixture to 118 degrees Celsius, increasing heat as needed. Keep a careful eye on it (or nose, rather) making sure it does not burn.
3. Remove mixture from heat and stir in baking soda and salt (it will foam like crazy). Pour over corn and mix well.
4. Transfer and spread over prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 mins, mixing/turning after 4 mins to further spread caramel coating. Bake until coating looks glossy. Again, make sure it does not burn.
5. Remove from oven and let cool. Break into chunks and serve.

Chunks of caramel corn are great for a party because guests can get a handful without having to fiddle with individual pieces of popcorn. If you want individual pieces, place caramel corn back into the mixing bowl and keep tossing the caramel corn until the coating cools.