Gingerbread Caramel Crunch from Taste of Home Magazine, October/November 2013

We spent our Thanksgiving at my in-laws.  We all ate way too much turkey, stuffing and pie. We all stayed up too late talking and playing Clue (Dudette’s new favorite game), and we all enjoyed relaxing on various couches and comfy chairs.

Then there’s the stuff we did individually. Dudette’s grandma took her to see Frozen. Her Pap Pap pulled her into his wood shop and the two of them made a beautiful bottle stopper for Hubby and me.

Hubby buried his nose in a Dallas Willard book, using the quiet time to really absorb the profound words of an amazing scholar. And yes, he also spent a good amount of time watching football with his dad.

Me? I discovered treasure. My mother-in-law pointed me to two stacks of magazines she was planning to take to an assisted-living home and told me to take whatever I wanted. So I did. I spent hours going through each magazine, marking recipes that wowed me.

I ended up with 16 periodicals, some recently published, others sporting worn pages; several years old. Some have one tab in them, while others look as though they have hair there are so many little pieces of paper sticking out of them.

Since I have this wealth of new recipes, December is going to be a month of going back in time. I’m going to share my discoveries with you.

The Process

Caramel corn is a deceptive treat. It looks and is simple enough, but it takes so stinkin’ long. This is no different. The easy part is popping the popcorn. And letting the gingerbread caramel bubble for five minutes. And spreading the caramel-covered popcorn on baking trays. And stirring the caramel corn every ten minutes*.

The stinkin’ long part was having to stir the corn every ten minutes for an hour. It’s just enough time to get bored standing around, but not enough time to actually go do something before needing to head back to the oven.

*Stirring every ten minutes is absolutely essential. If it’s not done, the sugary coating will burn on the baking sheet and ruin the flavor.

The Verdict

The definition of ‘a bummer,’ is stirring something every ten minutes and ending up with a final product that doesn’t taste very good. This was so not a bummer. The gingerbread caramel corn is delicious.

I knew it was good because every time I walked by the table where it was cooling on trays, I snagged some. I knew it was amazing when Dudette came home from school and kept dipping her hand in the jar where I had stored it. And I knew it was a keeper when Hubby couldn’t stop eating it once he started.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I know it’s a matter of personal taste, but I like my gingerbread with a hint of cloves, so i’d add a quarter teaspoon of cloves to the sauce along with the other spices.

Gingerbread Caramel Crunch from Taste of Home Magazine, October/November 2013
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
from Taste of Home Magazine, October/November, 2010
Source:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves: 14
Ingredients
  • 14 cups air-popped popcorn
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Place popcorn in a large bowl coated with cooking spray; set aside. Butter the sides of a small heavy saucepan; add the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, molasses, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will foam). Stir in vanilla. Quickly pour over popcorn and mix well.
  3. Transfer to two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from pans and place on waxed paper to cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3-1/2 quarts.
What I'd Do Different Next Time
I know it's a matter of personal taste, but I like my gingerbread with a hint of cloves, so i'd add a quarter teaspoon of cloves to the sauce along with the other spices.

 

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20 Responses to Gingerbread Caramel Crunch from Taste of Home Magazine, October/November 2013

  1. Hubby says:

    A friend was over to perform E-R work on TMC's computer and she gave us both a handful of this to try, then walked away. Just like a woman to tease men. Ha! Not only did she walk away but she closed the lid on the jar and everything. You CAN'T give someone four or five of these kernels and then lock it away. Uh-uh. They're WAY too good. And here I thought I had her trained better …

  2. seana says:

    How big of a bowl do you need? I'm not sure I have anything 14 cups of popcorn would fit in to. Looks good. Do you have any idea how long this would keep in an air tight container? Thinking of making this for my neighbors for Christmas and would like to get a jump start on it. Normally I make white chocolate covered pretzels. Shake things up a bit with the popcorn. I am still however, mandated to make peanut butter balls. Only 200+ of the balls. Talk about time consuming :)

    • Honestly, I think it's worth heading to the nearest dollar store and picking up the biggest plastic one you can find. I hate it when I have to be extra special careful about stirring that kind of stuff so it doesn't spill out. It does need to be bigger than your largest mixing bowl by quite a bit. One of Dudette's favorite treats is white chocolate covered pretzels. :)

  3. Caramel corn is so addicting to me. I have to hide it from myself. This version would be no different, I'm quite sure.

  4. wildeinthekitchen says:

    I can't wait until my braces are off to indulge in so much popcorn! Glad to hear your thanksgiving was good and can't wait to see some of those vintage recipes!

  5. Oh yeah, I cant wait to make this. Hubbie is going to love it although I dont have him trained as well as you have yours trained. Mine is kind of stuborn and doesnt listen at all. He will however love this stuff.

  6. arif says:

    this look yummy.,
    i like popcorn,.

  7. I love caramel corn and this is such a great twist on it! I think a pinch of cloves sounds like a great addition!

  8. eliotthecat says:

    Sounds like a relaxing holiday! Lucky you to get more mags. Thanks for sharing this recipe! Yuma,

  9. OMG OMG OMG! I need this like ASAP :)

  10. Curry and Comfort says:

    Wow… what a fun popcorn!! This blows away the air popped plain stuff I make at home. :)

  11. Ameena says:

    I had a boiled egg for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm glad you and the family fared better!

    Looks delicious. My popcorn loving daughter would love this. Her lazy, non-stirring mother probably won't make it anytime soon though…

  12. Pingback: Busy Being Jennifer | 35 Gingerbread Recipes for the Holidays!

  13. Jessica says:

    I love caramel popcorn!

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