Sunday, July 3, 2011

Butter Toffee Popcorn

The family and I've been invited to a 4th of July party, so I've been busy whipping up some snacks to share.  I found a recipe for Butter Toffee Popcorn (homemade Cracker Jack) in the October/November 2010 issue of Cook's Country Magazine that I've been wanting to make for a while now, and figured this was the right time to try it out.  I made two batches.

One to bring to the party:

And one to share with the neighbors (and the Mother-in-Law):

Butter Toffee Popcorn

1.  Heat the oven to 250 degrees.  Grease a 4-quart glass casserole dish or large roasting pan.  Place 3-quarts popped popcorn in the pan.

2.  Melt 10 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add 1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar, 1/2 cup dark corn syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.  Off heat, stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (mixture will foam).  Add 2 cups salted peanuts and pour mixture over popcorn, tossing to coat.  Don't worry if the popcorn isn't completely coated at first.  It will be easier to mix as it spends time in the oven.

3.  Bake, stirring occasionally, until popcorn is deep golden brown and caramel has set, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.  (My batches took the full
1-1/2 hours.)  Cool to room temperature and serve.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.  Hide it from husbands and daughters who like to sneak pieces throughout the day.

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