For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was introduced to Veronica's blog, Veronica's Cornucopia. She makes roughly a 2-to-1 ratio of sweets to meals and sides so I figured sweets were the way to go. I didn't have to search far because right in her highlighted popular recipes listings I found something that immediately caught my eye - Cinnabon caramel corn.
In making this recipe, I actually got to kill two birds with one stone. I'd seen recipes for homemade microwave popcorn floating around pinterest for quite a while now. It is said that all that is needed to create healthy, homemade popcorn was corn kernels, a paper lunch sack, and a microwave. I followed the directions and held my breath while watching the bag spin round and round on the microwave turn table. Then, like magic, I heard the kernels start to pop! Pop, pop, pop pop pop! Once it was done, I cautiously opened the bag and there they were. Fresh, fluffy, perfectly cooked popcorn that was made in under 3 minutes without oil, without scary microwave popcorn bag liner chemicals, and without a special machine. It was amazing!
Now, I could have topped my popcorn with a bit of salt, butter, and/or other seasonings and then stopped there for a pretty healthy, fiber-filled snack. But, I pushed onward knowing this batch of popcorn had a different destiny. Dutifully I used my microwave again to prepare the caramel and then coated my precious popcorn with the mixture. Then it went into the waiting oven and it got all caramelized and crispy. With each stir I had to "sample" the warm caramel corn to ensure it was progressing. Finally, it was done. Again, I could have stopped right here but no, it needed a bit more to complete its gourmet transformation. A quick drizzle with the almond bark and then another "sample". Perfection! I'm pretty sure I could have stood at my kitchen island and ate the entire pan warm and fresh from the oven. After it cooled, I "sampled" some more. Cinnamon and caramel and nuts and chocolate oh my! Needless to say, I was hooked!
Seeing how easy this recipe was, I promised my husband that I'd make him his own special batch drizzled with his favorite sweets combination, peanut butter and chocolate. This would make an excellent holiday and/or Christmas gift. Your friends will think you're such a crafty person and may not believe you when you say that you made it from scratch. They'll probably even beg you for the recipe ;).
Special thank you to April of the blog Angel's Homestead SRC ring leader and Debbi of the blog Debbi Does Dinner, our Group C Hostess! Please also check the blog hop to see what everyone else in Group C made this month!
By the way, have you shared then commented on each of my Mac and Cheese Monday posts? Each week there's a new chance to win either Mac & Cheese by Ellen Brown or Mac and Cheese, Please! by Laura Werlin! See here for full contest details. Good luck!
- 12 cups Easy Microwave Popcorn (recipe follows)
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Karo syrup (or honey makes a good substitution)
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) real salted butter
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 squares almond bark
For the Easy Microwave Popcorn
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels, divided
- 2 brown paper lunch bags
- Place 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into each bag. Fold the bag over in half-inch increments, twice.
- Place one of the bags in the microwave standing upright and set for 3 minutes (popcorn may be done after 2:30 to 2:45) or use the popcorn button if available. Listen carefully for kernels to stop popping. As soon as the popping stops, take the bag out of the microwave. Repeat with the second bag.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Place popcorn and chopped pecans in a large bowl and set aside.
- Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a 2 liter capacity microwave safe bowl. Mix well. Chop butter into chunks and place on top of the sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over the top of everything. Microwave the mixture on high for 30 seconds and then stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Remove and stir again. Then, return to the microwave for 2 minutes more.
- Remove from the microwave and add in vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. The mixture will foam and rise. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pecans and stir until well coated.
- Spread coated popcorn mixture onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Melt almond bark according to package instructions. Using a fork, drizzle all over the popcorn mixture.
- When almond bark is hardened and popcorn is cool, break into chunks and enjoy!