Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookies 'n' Cream Popcorn

Last week I decided to start playing with popcorn again.  I am still partial to Thin Mint and Samoa but my husband went nuts for this Cookies 'n' Cream.  Maybe it is a guy thing?

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Christmas Caramels (and some of them might be chocolate-dipped)

I have so many posts for you it's ridiculous.  Also I have lots of stories for you about how mean people can be at Christmastime, but in the spirit of a Grinch-less Christmas, I will refrain... for today.

I have been making these caramels for years  (read: like 4 years).  I took some to my good friend the other day and this is the message she sent me- "HANDS DOWN THE BEST HOMEMADE CARAMELS I have ever had!" 

Take her word for it.  Her name is Katie.  You can trust her.

If you have never made caramels before I will just tell you, it's going to take you 30-45 minutes of non-stop stirring to make these.  Don't do this when you have little kids underfoot, phone calls coming in, or cat sweaters to knitOh, you don't knit your cat sweaters for Christmas? Mmm, yeah, me neither...

I like to do it at night when the kids are in bed and my husband is home in case my arm needs a break. Also, you are going to need a candy thermometer.  Be sure to calibrate it before beginning or it's pretty much pointless to use in the first place. (I usually do the ice point and boiling method, just for kicks, but either one is fine.)

The only time this recipe has failed for me, is when I decided not to use a thermometer.  Duhhhhh. My candy thermometer is WAYYY off, so I usually stick it in to give me a ballpark, but poke in my digital "insta-read" meat thermometer every 5 minutes or so near the end until I reach the exact required degree.  Don't be intimidated by the use of the thermometer, this recipe is really not difficult, and also you can count the non-stop stirring as a bicep workout for the day.  BONUS!

Be sure to read through the recipe completely before you start because you won't have any hands free once you begin (and you might needa do a little math... but I am Math Ditz of the world, so if I can do it, you can do it!)

Also people will think you are Supreme Caramel Maker of the World when you feed them these, so feel free to embrace the title.

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