Thursday, May 13, 2010

tropical caramel corn

Sweet and salty is my weakness.  Once I start I can't stop.  I don't buy salted and roasted nuts anymore because what some deem a healthy snack is a complete over indulgence for me.  Chocolate covered pretzels ... forget it.  Caramel popcorn is in the same category.  When you add macadamia nuts into it along with tropical dried fruit I might as well just commit myself to an extra few miles a day on the treadmill until it is out of the house.  I wish my mom was coming up this week because I know she would help me finish it off.  The Bean has teacher appreciation this week.  Tonight we made his teachers homemade bookmarks and large tins filled with tropical caramel corn.  I stuffed each container but, there was still a lot left for me.  I had some and it was good, I put the kids to bed and it was still good, I cleaned the kitchen and yep still good.  Oh boy am I in t-r-o-u-b-l-e!!!
Tropical Caramel Popcorn

Adapted from Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey

12 cups Cooked Popcorn (1 cup of kernels and 4tbsp of oil)
1/2 cup Banana Chips
1 cup Macadamia Nuts
1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1/2 cup Candied Pineapple, diced
1 cup (2 sticks) Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Corn Syrup (light or dark)
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

preheat oven to 250 degrees

Pop popcorn.

Combine the popcorn, banana chips, macadamia nuts, coconuts and pineapple in a large bowl. 

In a large sauce pot add the butter, sugars, corn syrup, lemon juice and salt. Let boil for 6 – 9 minutes, until it reaches the hard ball stage (300 F on candy thermometer). 

Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract (if using) and baking soda. The baking soda will foam a bit, simply stir until it subsides. 

Slowly add the caramel to the bowl. Toss and coat. Evenly distribute caramel coated popcorn on two parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake the popcorn for 1 hour, or until crisp and fragrant. Sprinkle with kosher salt when removed from oven for an extra sweet/salty punch.

Let cool completely before eating. The cooled popcorn can be stored in an airtight container up to 1 week.

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