Friday, February 7, 2014

Carmel Corn Mary Hazlett

Yummy!  One of my very favorite memories as a child  was our family's carmel corn Sundays!  With eight children and two very large silver bowls, which I think was acquired from an old army cafeteria, our family would enjoy our carmel popcorn as we watched a movie together. 

We had this ancient air popcorn popper that we would fill up with kernels and watch the magic unfold as it gently rolled the kernels in its warm air until...POP!  Can you smell it?  I remember popping that popcorn, it took about 45 minutes to fill up both bowls with the popped corn and then Mom would start the process of making the carmel. 

This was the very delicate process of our popcorn.  Corn syrup, brown and white sugar, butter, and a touch of vinegar... it was an old Betty Crocker recipe.  Of course, with our two very LARGE bowls of popcorn, the recipe had to be quadrupled.  

I would watch as Mom would scoop out the sugars, most of the time getting a small taste of them, and then came the corn syrup and a splash of vinegar.  She would gently stir them as they came to a boil... this is the funny part... for all the years and the mass amounts of carmel she made you would think this woman would own a candy thermometer....she did not!  So, to adjust for the right chewiness of the carmel, Mom would  put small amounts of the boiling liquid in cold water and if it created a small  soft ball it was done.  I would watch over and over how she would do this.  It was like a dance watching her sway from side to side stirring and testing the carmel.

Soon the carmel would be ready!  Slowly it was poured over the large bowls of popped corn.  I am not sure what was more fun, the making of the popcorn or eating it?  With this memory still so vivid in my mind, I have made this my own family's tradition of carmel popcorn on Sundays...and I LOVE IT!  My husband and son pop the corn and me... I do the carmel.  Swaying and stirring as the sugars meld to create a most wonderful treat and a wonderful family memory... the only difference is... I have a candy thermometer!

Here's the recipe for the carmel:

(use with 8 cups popped corn)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
Splash of vinegar
-1/2 cup butter (to be mixed in after above ingredients have been cooked)

* Cook on med-high, while constantly stirring
* Cook till temperature on candy thermometer reaches "soft ball" (Or use Mom's method- see above)
* Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup butter
* Mix into popcorn and eat it all up with your family and a good movie

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