"Mum," he says "if it's corn, it's a veggie." And we all know how hard it is to get the kids to eat their veggies, even if it is in the form of popcorn. Yes, this is the three year old that knows his chocolate custard from his chocolate mousse, and isnt hesitant to make it known. "This isn't custard Dad--I think it's chocolate mousse!" While I beam with pride that my son knows the difference, part of me thinks, we probably conume more mousse and custard than we should.
My two year old daughter on the other hand, is more of the experimental type, and corn in any form does not faze her. In fact, she can't get enough. She went crazy for this popcorn when I made it. Her eyes almost popped out of her head with glee when she saw me pouring hot caramel over the fresh popcorn, and she started clapping excitedly. This recipe for caramel popcorn is from Danielle's blog, Hugs and Cookies XOXO. Danielle is the owner of a delightful blog just bursting with all sorts of scrumptiousness--and I found it hard to choose just one recipe to recreate for this months Secret Recipe Club Reveal. The caramel recipes alone left my keyboard rather drooled upon. Anyway, I've been looking for Christmas recipes for a long time, and when I came across the caramel popcorn it brought back vivid memories of Christmases gnawing away at caramel popcorn in the form of a ball.
My parents ended up making a rule against gift giving among my siblings--there are ten of us kids, so you can imagine the mountains of presents surrounding the tree and everyone getting stressed over what to buy and the lack of coin, especially among the younger ones. So my parents would give us all presents, and we would in turn, add something to the day--the Christmas tree, the wine, the pudding, the candy canes for the tree--whatever we wanted. For many years in a row I recall making caramel popcorn balls tied with ribbon, and hanging them on the tree like baubles as my little gift for the day. It's very economical and fun, and easy enough for children to make. They would make great DIY teacher's Christmas gifts for the end of school as well, tied up with ribbon in a clear cellophane bag. They would also be a great treat to sell at a school fete--cant you just see all the little ones munching away?
Now will my son eat corn?
Only if it's popped kernels covered in caramel and made into a ball shape. Somehow now, it's not a vegetable.
CARAMEL POPCORN BALLS (Adapted from Hugs and Cookies XOXO)
6 cups already popped popcorn
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup honey (golden syrup or light corn syrup and great substitutes)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp bicarb soda (aka baking soda)
1/2 tsp vanilla
In a large bowl, place the popped popcorn. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the sugar, honey and salt. Stir to combine, then let boil without stirring for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the bicarb soda and vanilla. Pour this hot caramel over the popcorn. Stir thoroughly, then set aside for 5-10 minutes to cool. The caramel is extremely hot, so cautiously test the caramel with your finger to make sure it's cool enough to handle. While it is still warm, scoop handfuls of caramel popcorn and form them into balls, about fist size. Make sure you use some pressure, so that the ball holds together firmly. Set aside to cool before tying with ribbon.