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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Honey Caramel Corn

Popcorn_jug_1_2 Popcorn is one snack I've had ready access to all month, because we bought a gallon jug of locally grown popping corn at the Intervale "eat local" kickoff party in late July. I'm glad we did: it cooks quickly, so if you arrive home ravenous, hunger can be staved off long enough to come up with a game plan for cooking an actual meal. Even though we've had it every two or three days, the container is still two-thirds full!

Gahlord and I tried this localvore version of dessert popcorn a few nights ago, inspired by my friend Mandy's tales of homemade junk food. It's easy to make, and really good!  It pays to be a bit careful not to overcook the caramel, but other than that, you really can't go wrong.

Cooking_caramel_1 Ingredients:

— 1/2 cup popping corn
— olive oil and/or butter for popping
— 2 tablespoons butter
— 1/4 cup honey
— salt to taste

Put the honey and 2 T butter in a saucepan on the stove, over high heat. You may want to add a little bit of salt at this point (under 1/4 teaspoon?), especially if you're using unsalted butter. Make sure your saucepan holds at least 5 or 6 cups, since the honey will bubble up quite a bit. Meanwhile, pop the popcorn, and dump it into a big bowl. We have a stovetop popper, and it usually takes about 4 to 5 minutes to cook one batch. If your popping method will take longer, either put the honey mixture on lower heat, or wait until the popcorn's done to cook the caramel.

Pouring_caramel Popcorn in the bowl? All righty. Now, keep stirring the boiling, bubbling honey-butter caramel until it seems thick enough — about 3-4 minutes. I dipped a chilled spoon into it and when it was thick enough to coat the back, I considered it done. Remember, it will harden once it cools. Working quickly, drizzle the caramel over the popped popcorn, scraping out the pan. Toss the popcorn-caramel mixture with two spoons or your hands, until all of the popcorn is evenly covered with caramel.

Popcorn_closeup_1 Better than Crackerjack!
This stuff is pretty great, but I think the one improvement I would make using non-local ingredients would be to add toasted peanuts, almonds and pecans. And maybe a wee plastic prize.

Enjoy! Any leftovers can be pressed into snowball-sized popcorn balls and wrapped in wax paper for later.


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i had no idea caramel could be made from honey! thanks!


I made this with my kids this afternoon and it was awesome! We all loved it. And they don't even like honey (or so they say).

Thanks for posting it.

John Canning

This recipe is delicious! Thanks for sharing it. Now, I wonder if I could substitute maple syrup for the honey...


Yes, that picture of kids playing in a tub of corn kernels doesn't seem wise to me either. I've always considered myself rich when I can plunge my hands into a sack of grain and feel all the tiny seeds run through my fingers. I've never harvested grain, but left to myself I wouldn't even know how, so I have a lot of gratitude for those farmers who grow our food for us. In other countries, the kids wouldn't be playing in the corn, they'd be eating it!

Kathy Lee

I'm trying to find farmers who grow and sell popping corn. Where did you get yours? How can I contact them? Thanks.

Meghan Dewald

I never thought I'd receive a comment so long after posting this, but that's a good question, Kathy --

According to Nicole Carpenter, who heads the Burlington-area localvore group, a Vermont farmer named Clem Brigante grew that popcorn I bought last summer. There isn't any more available right now because he didn't plant any in 2006, but he's planting some this year, and there should be local popcorn available in October of 2007. She also says she has seen some local popcorn in the Rutland area, but hasn't been able to track down the farmer.

That's all I know as of now. Best of luck to you in your search!


I miss this popcorn.

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