Hi! Let’s just breeze past the fact that it’s been over 12 months since I last posted anything.
That was easy :) Moving on. Let’s catch up. The last 14 months were crazy, hectic, and wonderful. Have a beautiful baby girl – check. Move back to Illinois – check. Watch husband finish grad school and start a new job almost simultaneously – check. Not have a working oven for nearly four months – check. Successfully not cry on my three year old’s first day of preschool (really it’s just two hours once a week) – check. Finally sit down to write a new post – in progress :)
It really has been/is a good year. 2015 was great, and 2016 is shaping up to be pretty excellent so far as well. Today was especially good. Mom life has been awesome. Not without its bumps in the road, but overall awesome. Our days are full, but we’re starting to settle into a rhythm that works for us.Wake up, have breakfast, play, and then Mommy’s third favorite part of the day (after 1-when Daddy gets home and 2-nap time) is when we go to the store. Whether it’s to Mariano’s for our refrigerator staples, or to everyone’s favorite time waster Target, I love getting out of the house, walking around, chatting with strangers, and planning meals at the store. Nearly every day of the week you can find the littles and I meandering up and down the grocery aisles, and today was no different.
We strolled into Target and immediately hung a left over to the snack counter. I had promised Little T popcorn, and so what if it was almost lunchtime – I was ready to deliver. We didn’t make it very far with our red bag of buttery deliciousness when the questions started: “Mommy, what’s this? Can you tell me? What does this do? What’s this for?” A million questions a day…and I love them. I started to try and explain popcorn in the cleaning supplies aisle when it occurred to me that this could be a fun lesson about science, and maybe some math, and definitely some cooking.
And that’s precisely what the rest of our day looked like.
Science + Math
And Definitely Cooking
Aside from having a ridiculous amount of fun teaching my favorite 3 year old how popcorn becomes popcorn (popcorn kernels plus heat equals popcorn), we also got to make some seriously delicious caramel corn. So delicious in fact, that I’m eating right now. It’s that good. I couldn’t wait to be finished with it to tell someone about it. Go – make this – and pretend you learned something today ;)
Salted Caramel Popcorn
Original recipe found here – mine is only slightly modified
1/2 c popcorn, unpopped (about 16 c popped popcorn)
1 c butter, unsalted
1 c brown sugar
1/3 c light corn syrup
3 tsp salt
- Pop your popcorn. I have a really neat bowl that just goes in the microwave with a lid and pops the kernels like magic with no extra oil or butter. If you have an air popper now is a good time to pull it out. You can also use bagged or microwave popcorn, but I would maybe cut back on the salt that you’re adding in because those popcorns will already have a decent amount of salt added already.
- Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Totally worth it – you’ll save time cleaning up later, and it will make the middle part of this recipe much easier.
- Preheat your oven to 300ºF.
- In a medium saucepan (you’ll want something large enough that your caramel won’t boil over) combine butter, sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tsp of salt over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil. You can stir to get everything mixed up, but once it has started to boil STOP STIRRING! Boil for 4 minutes (without stirring, of course).
- Once your caramel is ready, pour it over your popcorn and stir to cover all pieces. I found that dividing my popcorn into two bowls, and distributing the caramel in two separate batches worked best (pour, stir to coat, move on to next bowl, pour, and then stir to coat).
- Transfer all of the popcorn to your lined, rimmed baking sheet, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. It’s okay if it’s not in a single layer.
- Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes (aren’t you glad you lined your pan with parchment now? so much easier to stir). After you stir it the first time sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt.
- When it’s finished baking, spread all the popcorn onto a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter or table. This is where you should try to spread it out into a single layer. After it cools and dries completely you can break up any larger pieces before storing in an airtight container.*
*Who am I kidding? This didn’t last the night. We cuddled up on the couch after the kids went to bed, watched “Fuller House” while I typed this blog, and devoured every piece that didn’t get eaten earlier in the day. You’d think I might have difficulty eating and typing, but you’d be wrong. And I’d like to say my kids ate most of it, but I’d also like to not be a liar.
So remember kids, science and math are fun, and today they proved themselves to be equally delicious!