Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gingerbread Popcorn

This post is going to be short, because I've been sick and I kinda wanna go lay back down. I started this post before the illness hit me, and then I realized in the midst of my misery that I had never finished it.

Despite my current state, a few days ago when I made this Gingerbread Popcorn, I was dancing around my house. There may have been some exclamations, too, such as "Yummy yummy" and "Oh my sweet Lord!" Because I had fallen in love, and there was no turning back.

Okay, imagine this if you will: you take a huge pile of popped popcorn, then pour a hot mixture of brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, cinnamon, and ginger over it and mix the whole thing together. As if this didn't already sound wonderful, then you take your smothered popcorn and bake it in a very low oven for an hour. This extra step creates the most delightful crusty outer shell on the popcorn, making for a sweet, crunchy treat that is irresistible.

We had so much fun making this. I tried my hand at air-popping my kernels in a large stockpot, which was a big hit with the kiddos. They may have sampled a lot of this popcorn before it was covered in the yumminess! The mixture was easy to make, too, because it did not require the use of a candy thermometer (for some reason, that trips me up a lot of the time). You just let everything come up to a boil, then cook it for another five minutes, then you're ready to remove it from the heat. So easy! Anyway, if you're looking to make a snack this holiday season that is a departure from the same old thing, I recommend making this stuff. But I dare you to keep your hands out of it until you're able to give it away!

Gingerbread Popcorn
from Culinary in the Desert
makes 15 cups of popcorn

15 cups popped popcorn
16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar (I used light brown)

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 Tbsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line 2 large baking dishes (I used 2 baking sheets) with foil and coat with cooking spray. Fill each with 7 1/2 cups popcorn (I put all my popcorn in a very large bowl, then mixed it with the sugar concoction before dividing it all onto the 2 sheets).

2. Combine butter, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a large, heavy bottom saucepan. Heat over medium heat until mixture boils. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour over popcorn; toss to coat.

3. Bake at 250 for one hour, carefully stirring the warm mixture every 15 minutes. Cool completely before enjoying.

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