It's tradition that Mrblocko goes to his friends house for the "big game". His friends live 45 minutes away. Since the game is on a school night, Blockette and I go to my best friend's house who lives only a mere 15 minutes away.
I asked Mrblocko what he wanted me to make for him to take over to his friends house. Do you know what he wanted to bring? Cheese, sausage and crackers. HA! I decided that I was going to make Our Best Bites' Cinnamon roll caramel corn to take to my party.
When I first told Mrblocko I was going to make caramel corn he was pretty unenthused. Then I told him I was going to take a perfectly good batch of caramel corn and add cinnamon, pecans and white chocolate. That really caught his attention.
I let him taste this Om nom nommaliciousness and I had to take it away from him so he wouldn't eat it all. I said, "Doesn't this make your sausage, cheese and crackers seem super lame?" He could not deny that my snackage trumped his.
The folks at Our Best Bites made note that when making the caramel, the traditional corn syrup could be replaced with honey. Blockette has a friend in her class that can't eat corn syrup. It's next to impossible to find snacks that don't contain corn syrup, even non-sugary ones. I figured I'd test out the honey version and if it was tasty, I'd pass the recipe on to Blockette's friend's mom. Plus, I was curious as to how much the honey would alter the flavor of the caramel.
The end result didn't taste like most caramel corn I've had before. The honey flavor really shone through. This was not a bad thing at all, especially if you are a fan of honey like I am. The caramel didn't get as crispy as I thought it would after baking. I think this might be from the honey. The next time I make a batch of this caramel corn I will use corn syrup to test my theory.
Cinnamon Roll Caramel Corn from our best bites
12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels)
1 C roughly chopped pecans
1 C brown sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 C Karo syrup (or honey makes a good substitution)
1 stick real butter (1/2 C)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
3 squares almond bark
Preheat oven to 250 F, Place popcorn and chopped pecans in a large bowl and set aside. And by large bowl, I mean like, twice as big as you think you really need. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a big, microwave-safe bowl. Like a 2-quart bowl or Pyrex measuring bowl. Again, use a bowl larger than you think you need to avoid scorching hot caramel goo accidents. It’s really important to incorporate the cinnamon into the brown sugar at this point. For some reason, if you don’t it does crazy things. Chop butter into chunks and place on top of sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup (or honey) over the top of everything. Microwave on high for 30 sec (just to soften the butter a bit) and then stir to combine.
Return to microwave and heat for 2 min. Remove and stir and then microwave for 2 min more. By this point it should be nice and bubbly. Remove from the microwave and add in vanilla and baking soda.
The vanilla makes it bubble and pop and the baking soda makes it foam up. pour over the popcorn and pecans. Stir right away, and stir lots. Take too long and the caramel will harden on you. Keep stirring until everything is well coated.
Spread popcorn mixture onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan.Place in oven and bake for 30 min, stirring every 10 min.After 30 min, take a piece out and let it cool. “Sample.” If it’s not crunchy enough, bake for another 5 minutes. “Sample” again. When it’s done, give it a final stir and let it cool off for a bit while you melt your almond bark (just nuke it in the microwave according to the package directions) If you want, you can spread out your caramel corn on a clean piece of parchment, waxed paper, or foil. Drizzle the melted almond bark over the popcorn mixture.