December 08, 2008

Recession-Friendly Hostess Gift

It’s that time of year again—which means parties, parties and more parties. Yay!! But all those bottles of wine we've been bringing to the hostesses have really begun put a dent in our Christmas fund, so when an invitation arrived in the mail the other day, I vowed that instead of dropping more cash at the liquor store, I would take the time to make a nice homemade gift to bring the hostess. I chose to make caramel popcorn and put it in a pretty Christmas tin.

It was so easy and sooo budget friendly-I hope the host and hostess liked the treat halfway as much as the Husband and I liked celebrating the season with all our friends on Saturday night.

Caramel Popcorn

½ cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
10 cups popped popcorn (from 2/3 cup kernels)
Optional ingredients:
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 to 2 1-Oz. semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
1 to 2 1-Oz. white chocolate baking squares

Pop popcorn in an air popper or in a large pot over the stove top and set aside in a large bowl. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 250. Next, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the caramel mixture is boiling, boil without stirring for 4 minutes. Remove the caramel sauce from the heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour the caramel in a thin stream over the popped popcorn (and peanuts, if using), stirring gently to coat.

Place the coated popcorn in a large (or two medium) shallow baking dish(s) and bake in preheated oven, gently stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. (For added sweetness, drizzle caramel popcorn with a tiny bit of dark or white chocolate or both!)


Anonymous said...

that is a great idea!! I think I'm going to make some as presents to my coworkers!

Anonymous said...

Jackie- I tagged you!