Monday, December 3, 2012

Peppermint Caramel Corn ~ Goodie Number 1!

 (Recipe Number 1 of our Top 5 Christmas Goodies to Giveaway)

It's the first week of December, so naturally, we begin to think of baking and goodie making! Each year, one of our most important traditions is to bring our neighbors a goodie plate, Christmas cards, and ornaments. We love being able to stop, talk, and share with our neighbors. Life can get really busy, and sometimes our busy-ness can keep us from just stopping to have a nice little chat with those that live right next door. Making sure we bring our cookie plates every year ensures a nice little conversation to catch up!

The kids love this part of the year too! Starting in late September or early October, Emma and Sophia are already planning out our baking schedule. This year we decided we wanted something different, and not a cookie. So we brainstormed a little bit. We thought of doing chocolate dipped pretzels, or maybe those cute hot chocolate spoons. Then the thought came to me....Peppermint Caramel Corn! Yes! We had such fun with our Caramel Apple Popcorn recipe...why not try another popcorn goodie?! So, we went to work creating....

We tried it two different ways, and much preferred the "takes a long time" method. :) Of course...good things come to those who wait, right?

Here's that recipe:

Peppermint Caramel Corn (oven)

15 C popped corn (9 T kernals)
1 C sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 C light corn syrup (or maple syrup or honey)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. (or more) peppermint extract....this can be to your liking, of course
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 C or so of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 200*. Place popcorn into roasting pan. In a sauce pan heat the sugar, butter, corn syrup (maple syrup or honey), and salt, stirring occasionally until bubbly around edges. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in peppermint extract and then baking soda. Stir until foamy. Pour over popcorn IMMEDIATELY, stirring until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

When the popcorn has cooled a bit, toss in some chocolate chips. They'll get melty but retain their shape....and they are such a yummy addition!

Another way to make this popcorn if you are short on time is to just pop up some corn, and in the melted butter that you would normally pour over your popcorn (of course!) add in a couple of splashes of maple syrup and 1/2 tsp. or so of peppermint extract. Add a little salt to your popcorn as well, because sweet and salty just go so well together. Toss the popcorn with the sweet peppermint butter, throw in some chocolate chips, and there you go! This method is good for if you are eating the popcorn right then and there. But it gets mushy if it sits overnight (yep, we tried it!), so it wouldn't be good for packaging up and giving to your neighbors! :)

My little pajama clad kiddos loved this stuff! They definitely take after their mother with the peppermint and chocolate thing! :)

Here's our favorite rendition of Away in a Manger for your listening enjoyment! :)

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