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.
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 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Remove from the heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will foam). Stir in vanilla. Quickly pour over popcorn and mix well.
- 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.