Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Turtle Caramel Corn

This is a take on one of my favorite candies, turtles. I love the combo of chocolate, pecans, and caramel. You can skip adding the extra caramel pieces if you like since it technically is caramel corn, but it’s me and I have to add more calories to things whenever possible.You want to hold out adding the caramel and chocolate till the end so they don’t get too hard. This is a nice take on caramel corn.

Turtle Caramel Corn

16 cups popped popcorn (I use the 94% fat free Kettle Corn…it has a nice salty sweet base)
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups brown sugar
½ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (if can’t find use corn syrup)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. baking soda
16 caramels, unwrapped, and chopped into four pieces
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped unsalted pecans

Preheat oven to 250F. Spray two baking sheets with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl (the largest you have in the house) combine the popcorn and nuts. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter, sugars, golden syrup, lemon juice and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter and sugars melt together.
Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil gently until the mixture reaches the hard crack stage (300F on a candy thermometer) 6-9 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla and the baking soda. They syrup with bubbles and foam with the baking soda is added, simply stir until it subsides.
Immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn mixture and stir with a large wooden spoon until a caramel glaze completely coast all the popped corn and nuts.
Divide the caramel corn between the prepared baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir and flip (I use a heat proof spatula) the caramel corn. Bake for another 20 minutes. Do the same again. This time before putting in oven, sprinkle in caramel pieces and chocolate chips. Make sure that they are on the corn and not the pan. Place into oven for another 10 minutes.
Let caramel corn cool completely. Store in a tightly covered container for up to a week.

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