Maple Pecan Caramel Corn

12 Days of Christmas Treats- Day 7! For some of my Christmas gifts this year, I bought some cute ceramic popcorn bowls and filled them with several small bags of different types of homemade caramel corn. This was the first recipe that I tried and it came out so tasty! It does harden quickly, so you do have to toss the popcorn fast in order to avoid clumping, but the the maple flavor combined with the pecans is amazing!

Maple Pecan Caramel Corn
Makes about 8 cups

1 cup pecans (3 1/2 oz), toasted
About 8 cups plain popcorn, with all unpopped kernels picked out
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Toss together pecans and popcorn in a large bowl. Line a large shallow baking pan with foil, then lightly oil foil and 2 wooden spoons.
2. Melt butter in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat.
3. Add syrup and salt, then boil, without stirring, until mixture registers 300°F on thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Pour syrup over pecans and popcorn, tossing briskly with oiled spoons to coat.
5. Immediately spread popcorn in baking pan. Cool completely, then use oiled spoons to break up into bite-size pieces.

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