It’s funny how you can be married to someone for quite awhile and not really know them.
Carl and I have had a couple informative conversations lately. You’d think my lack of athleticism or our significant height differential would throw him off more, but no, it’s really just my taste in food.
Carl: What kind of person are you?
Me: I just love sour cream. If we don’t have it in the house, I don’t even bother making nachos or fajitas.
Carl: How did we even end up together?
Me: Yeah, it is kinda funny. Because bacon? I could totally do without ever eating bacon again. Or ice cream. I don’t really like it that much.
Carl was slack-jawed.
But I’m not the only one with these well-kept food secrets. On our recent anniversary getaway, we stopped into the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, as we always do, and, while I stood, happily overwhelmed, inhaling the intensely amazing aroma of a place that makes chocolate all day, every day, Carl scoped out the goods. Then he chose, over the slabs of fudge I was eyeing, a bag of Maple Walnut Rocky Pop.
Carl: Mmmm, this is what I want to buy. What are you picking?
Me: Popcorn?! $10 popcorn? Do you know how cheap popcorn is to make? Did you see the fudge?
Carl: Yeah, but that’s not THIS popcorn – look, it’s maple walnut caramel corn! Caramel corn is pretty much my favourite food. If you could learn to make caramel corn, that would be amazing.
I was slack-jawed.
His favourite food? I have literally never seen him eat caramel corn. Like, ever. Also, IF I could LEARN how to make caramel corn?! My mom mass-produced homemade caramel corn every single Christmas when we were kids – I know how to make me some caramel corn.
Well, I let him spend his money (to be fair, it was pretty delicious popcorn), and a week after we were home I earned some major points by making a 20-cup batch of perfect homemade caramel corn. My mother-in-law picked up a $3 air-popper for me at the thrift store and for $1.50 I bought a bag of kernels that should last me about a year, seeing as 1 cup of kernels makes about 20 cups of popcorn. Heat some butter and sugar to make your caramel, do some stirring, and, for significantly less than $10 a bag, you have some rockin’ caramel corn. Also, an excuse to use your roasting pan.
Make sure any dental fillings are secure and start popping – caramel corn is no longer just for Christmas. Although, it does happen to package up nicely and keep really well when the time comes for edible gifts…but for now, I’m just enjoying being able to impress my husband with these mad kitchen skillz he never knew existed :)
- 1 cup unpopped popcorn kernels (makes about 20 cups when popped)
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup corn syrup
- ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Spray large roasting pan thoroughly with baking spray or grease well with butter.
- Pop kernels, pick out any unpopped or hard bits, and transfer to roasting pan.
- In heavy saucepan with high sides, stir together butter, sugars, corn syrup, and cream of tartar. Stir over medium-high heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, and bring to a boil while stirring.
- Reduce heat to medium/medium-low and boil for 5 minutes WITHOUT stirring (it will bubble up - hence the need for high sides on your pan!) While it's boiling, preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove from heat and quickly and thoroughly stir in baking soda.
- Pour sugar mixture evenly over popcorn in roasting pan, mixing well with a large spoon to distribute it evenly. Bake for 1 hour at 200 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Let cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally to break up any big lumps. Store in airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 weeks.