Smoky Caramel Popcorn

I didn’t have as much time to bake this year with our new little roommate to tend to, but it wouldn’t have felt like a holiday season without making SOME sort of treats.  I had to make the usual batch of Furikake Chex Mix and tried out a David Chang/Momofuku cookie recipe (coming soon).  My mother-in-law volunteered to watch Mia on Black Friday so that Kev and I could go out on a date, and we took her up on it.  When we mentioned we were thinking of going to brunch and a movie, she asked us to pick up a tub of her favorite Arclight caramel corn.  With that in mind, I made a mental note to find a good candied popcorn recipe when Christmas came around.  I wanted to make something a little different and came across this recipe for a Smoky Candied Popcorn on Kitchn.
The amount of chili powder in the recipe is perfect – it’s not spicy at all and just adds a subtle hint of smoky flavor.  I followed the recipe to a tee the first time, and it was delicious.  However, I wanted to take the smokiness level up a notch without the possibility of creating spiciness by having too much chili powder.   With my newfound love of smoked paprika, I added a quarter teaspoon in to the dry mix.  And who doesn’t like a good salted caramel?  I added another 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to the recipe too.  This popcorn is like crack.  I’ve made it three times in the last few weeks and can’t get enough of it!
Hope you can enjoy it too!  Here’s the recipe, as adapted from Kitchn:
INGREDIENTS:
  • 10 cups popped popcorn (8 cups if you like your popcorn more candied)
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line a large (18×13-inch) baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone pan liner. Place the popcorn in a large bowl. Mix together the chili powder, smoked paprika, baking soda, and salt in a separate tiny bowl and set aside.
  2. In a heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, light corn syrup, and butter. Cook 10 minutes, occasionally swirling or stirring with a rubber spatula, until it all melts into an amber-hued caramel and pulls away a bit from the side of the pan. This mixture will be super hot, so be careful not get any on your skin.

    Caramel Caramelizing
  3. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the chili powder, smoked paprika, baking soda, and salt — the mixture will bubble up, so be careful.

    Whisk in Spices, Baking Soda, and Salt
  4. Quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss with a rubber spatula to evenly coat all the popcorn kernels. Once coated, carefully spread the popcorn onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, separating any large clumps that came together.
  5. Let cool 15 minutes if serving immediately or 2 to 3 hours to cool completely before wrapping and gifting. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

    Smoky Caramel Popcorn
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“World’s Best and Easiest” Teriyaki Chicken Wings

When you come across a recipe titled that starts with “World’s Best and Easiest”, you pay attention.  I found this recipe for Teriyaki Chicken Wings on Food.com and the title really intrigued me.  Could these be the best AND the easiest to make?  We tested them out for our housewarming party last February (yes – STILL backlogged!).  And with the Super Bowl coming up, I wanted to share the recipe with you!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 lbs chicken wings (skin on or off – it’s up to you!)
  • 1 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 1 lb dark brown sugar (you can buy a 1 pound box to make measuring a no brainer)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two roasting pans (or cookie sheets with a lip) with nonstick foil – this will make clean-up soooo much easier.
  2. Mix sauce and sugar together. Brush on both sides of the wings.  Pour remainder of sauce over wings.

    Pour Sauce Over Brushed Wings
    Pour Sauce Over Brushed Wings
  3. Cook face down so that the”pretty” side of the wing gets good and brown for about 40 minutes and then flip over. Cook for another 15 minutes.

    Flip After 40 Minutes
    Flip After 40 Minutes
  4. Throw all the gooey sauce into the crock pot with the wings and simmer on low heat for as long as you want (at least 10 minutes).  This is step is what makes the meat fall off the bone, but you don’t have to do it to cook them through.

    “World’s Best and Easiest” Teriyaki Chicken Wings

These chicken wings really were DELICIOUS.  The meat fell right off the bone as promised, and they were deliciously sticky.  I’ll definitely be making these again – perhaps for this year’s Super Bowl!

Furikake Chex Mix

In thinking about some of my posts from the last year, I realized that I have really just gotten all about the food and less about…anything else!  Time to sit, reflect, and put pen to paper has definitely dissipated greatly but I fully intend to get back into it and soon!

But for now, another food post.

I made this as part of the 2013 Holiday Bake-A-Thon to give away as packaged gifts, and munchies for a housewarming get-together Kev and I had recently and the Super Bowl.  The sweet and savory flavors make this snack seriously addicting, and it makes a huge batch that is perfect for gifting or sharing.

Shirley sent me the original recipe a few years ago, and I’ve adapted it as such:

WET INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 C light corn syrup (I used Karo brand)
  • 1/2 C of sugar
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 T soy sauce

 DRY INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 bags of microwavable popcorn (I used kettle corn)
  • 1 box of Rice Chex cereal
  • 1 box of Corn Chex cereal
  • 1 lb bag of mini pretzels
  • 1 lb mixed nuts (optional)
  • 1 bottle of Furikake

You can also sub half of both of the chex cereals for a box of honeycomb, or whatever combination you like. It’s totally customizable to whatever cereal, popcorn, chips, etc. you feel like throwing in.  Just make sure you’re not overdoing it with the dry ingredients, or there will be too much for the wet ingredients to coat evenly.

Dry Ingredients
Dry Ingredients

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat and melt the first 5 ingredients above in a pan or small pot. A nonstick pan or pot will make clean-up easier.

    Melt the Wet Ingredients Together
    Melt the Wet Ingredients Together
  3. In two extra large aluminum pans (or two large roasting pans if you have them), divide and mix all the dry ingredients together EXCEPT the Furikake.
  4. Pour a fourth of the wet mixture over the cereal in both pans and mix well.  Then divide and pour the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Place both trays in the oven for an hour, mixing about every 10-15 minutes.  After the first 10 minutes, divide and pour the Furikake over the cereal mix and mix well.

Happy snacking!

Furikake Chex Mix
Furikake Chex Mix