DIY

Gingerbread Caramel Popcorn

by Shawnda on December 16, 2013

in Appetizers,Candy,Christmas,DIY

Gingerbread Caramel Corn

I am all cookied out. Every single cookie that I brought home from last weekend’s exchange is gone. I didn’t eat them all, because that would be a terrible idea, but I had my share. And now I can’t even bring myself to edit the photos for the butterscotch cookie post that’s hanging out in my drafts folder.

I’m so over cookies that I’m actually looking forward to a spinach salad for lunch.

Gingerbread Caramel Corn

What I am not over, besides that salad, is caramel popcorn. But not just any caramel corn. Caramel corn spiked with a generous dose of gingerbread spices.

It’s Christmas in a bowl… you know, if you’d ever put Christmas into a bowl and then try to ruin it by sitting on the couch to hate-watch a Homeland mini-marathon. But at least while the frustratingly empty minutes tick by, your house smells like gingerbread and you have handful after handful of spicy, crunchy gingerbread caramel corn to keep you company.

Gingerbread Caramel Corn

Caramel popcorn gets a holiday makeover with a generous dose of gingerbread spices.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups popped popcorn (the yield from 1/3 rounded cup of kernels)
  • Cooking spray or parchment paper
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar*
  • 3 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Scrapings from 1 vanilla bean (can substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste)
  • 2-3 tsp gingerbread spice (purchased or homemade)
  • * I don't buy brown sugar so I substitute with 1 tsp molasses + 1/3 cup granulated sugar.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment. Have a rubber spatula handy.
  3. Pop the popcorn and transfer it to a large bowl.
  4. Heat the butter, sugar, molasses, corn syrup, and salt in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
  5. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add 2 tsp gingerbread spice and cook another 5 minutes.
  6. Let a little of the mixture cool on a spoon and then taste - not gingerbread-y enough? Add another tsp of spices.
  7. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
  8. Stir and immediately pour over the popcorn.
  9. Use a rubber spatula to stir until the popcorn is nicely coated and then transfer to the baking sheet, spreading out to an even layer.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
  11. Let cool ~15 minutes before eating.
  12. Store leftovers in a ziptop bag on the counter... if you have leftovers.

Notes

Yields: 6 1-cup servings

Adapted from Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

Estimated time: 45 minutes

{ 5 comments }

Bourbon & Salted Caramel Popcorn

by Shawnda on October 17, 2013

in Appetizers,Candy,DIY

Bourbon & Salted Caramel Popcorn

I hesitate to oversell and call that bowl of awesomeness “amazing” because it’s “just” caramel popcorn. But if caramel popcorn can be called amazing, then that stuff most certainly is amazing.

It’s “just” popcorn coated in caramel sauce and baked. But that super easy caramel sauce is made in barely 10 minutes, without even requiring a candy thermometer.

Bourbon & Salted Caramel Popcorn

And then that super easy caramel sauce is spiked with a generous bit of salt, a vanilla bean, and an ounce of bourbon. That bag of sweet and borderline-stale stuff you get in the foil bag at the baseball game? It has nothing on the molasses and vanilla notes in this grownup version.

“Just” amazing? Yeah. It totally is.

Bourbon & Salted Caramel Popcorn

I imagine that just about any whiskey would work. The first batch disappeared so quickly and used the last of the bourbon that I had to make a second batch with Crown Royal Black.

But I like run and stuff and therefore have no problems justifying caramel popcorn for dinner. Or breakfast.

Bourbon & Salted Caramel Popcorn

A grown-up homemade caramel popcorn spiked with bourbon and vanilla bean.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups popped popcorn (the yield from 1/3 rounded cup of kernels)
  • Cooking spray or parchment paper
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar**
  • 3 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling**
  • Scrapings from 1 vanilla bean (can substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste)
  • 4 Tbsp bourbon (or other whiskey)
  • * I don't buy brown sugar so I substitute with 1 tsp molasses + 1/3 cup granulated sugar.
  • ** Don't dig your caramel salty? Use a level 1/4 tsp of salt.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment. Have a rubber spatula handy.
  3. Pop the popcorn and transfer it to a large bowl.
  4. Heat the butter, sugar, molasses, corn syrup, and salt in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
  5. Once the mixture comes to a boil, cook another 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and add the whiskey (watch up for splatters) and vanilla.
  7. Stir and immediately pour over the popcorn.
  8. Use a rubber spatula to stir until the popcorn is nicely coated and then transfer to the baking sheet, spreading out to an even layer.
  9. Taste a couple of kernels - not "salted caramel" enough? Sprinkle with more salt.
  10. Bake for 35 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
  11. Let cool ~15 minutes before eating.
  12. Store leftovers in a ziptop bag on the counter... if you have leftovers.

Notes

Yields: 6 1-cup servings

Adapted from Real Simple

Estimated time: 50 minutes

{ 16 comments }

DIY Beer Paddle and Monogram Beer Flight Glasses

I can’t walk into Target without taking a stroll through the Dollar Spot. Usually, I’m looking for a pack of stickers, a rubber ducky, a sparkly pencil… something cheap with which to bribe The Little into riding in the cart without going full mushroom cloud mode on me.

More than once, we’ve had to turn right around and leave. ‘Cause there ain’t no meltdown like a crowded-Target meltdown.

This week, on a stock-up-for-a-road-trip trip, I took a solo detour through the aisles and left with the greatest Dollar Spot find ever: a beer paddle and beer flight glasses.

For $7.

DIY Beer Paddle and Monogram Beer Flight Glasses

I fashioned a DIY monogram stencil out of painting tape, clear packing tape, and an Exacto blade and used a jar of Armour Etch that I’ve owned since… well, I was planning to monogram the vases for our wedding reception. Back in 2006.

The original finish on the beer paddle was awful. The polyurethane coating was uneven and most boards had dried drip marks down the sides. (What did I expect for $3?) I sanded it away (down to a matte finish) and brushed on some leftover stain I found in the garage.

DIY Beer Paddle and Monogram Beer Flight Glasses

The best part wasn’t that it only cost $7. The best part was I completed the whole project during a rare-these-days naptime. To celebrate? Yep, I had a beer. But only a small one!

{ 17 comments }

Homemade Frozen French Bread Pizza

Before The Little was born, I went impressively overboard on a stock-the-freezer mission. It was part hoarding, part planning-for-the-apocalypse but I just knew I’d never ever have the time or energy to prep dinner again for the next 5+ years.

I wasn’t completely wrong.

Homemade Frozen French Bread Pizza

Most of it was your standard fare (enchiladas, pasta, soups, pizza dough, muffins, pulled pork, etc) – anything to help us feel like we had the ease of shopping in the freezer section for every meal without the calories, unpronounceable ingredients, and sodium bombs that actually come with shopping in the freezer section for every meal.

One of those “quick dinner” nights has resurfaced to become a favorite lately: Freezer French Bread Pizzas. Or as The Little refers to it, “pizza – but not circle pizza, I want long pizza.”

Homemade Frozen French Bread Pizza

Even quicker than homemade personal frozen pizzas, this one starts with a loaf of bread that someone else made. Then you bake the bread for a few minutes, top with your favorite freezer-friendly pizza toppings (no fresh tomatoes – wait ’til later for those), and freeze. My current favorite pizza: the pepperoni and hatch chile. Still.

When you’re read to eat, pop them back into the oven, adding any fresh ingredients (tomatoes go here!), and then enjoy your “long pizza” for dinner!

Freezer French Bread Pizzas

Homemade freezer french bread pizzas, healthier and fresher than store-bought pizza.

Ingredients

  • Loaf of french bread, split lengthwise and into manageable portions
  • Olive oil
  • Pizza sauce
  • Cheese
  • Toppings of choice
  • Gallon-sized freezer bags

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Place cut bread on a baking sheet (use a knife to cut and create a flat spot on the bottom of any bread piece that's wobbly).
  3. Lightly spray or brush the cut surface of the bread with olive oil and bake 7-8 minutes, until crispy and golden (but not overly browned).
  4. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Top with marinara, cheese, and freezer-friendly toppings like pepperoni, roasted peppers, etc. Save things like fresh tomatoes for topping just before and fresh basil or arugula for just after baking).
  6. Place back on the baking sheet and put in the freezer until frozen solid, 1-2 hours.
  7. Transfer the frozen pizzas to gallon zipper bags and freeze.
  8. To cook, preheat the oven to 425 and bake 12-15 minutes, until the edges of the pizza are very brown and the cheese is bubbly and melted.

Notes

Yields: Servings vary

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

{ 10 comments }