I know I have been absent! This time of year Whisked Away (my small cooking school) is extremely busy! It is a good thing, but I just haven’t learned how to balance it with blogging. Any tips??
As I am sure many of you do, I make cookies for my neighbors and a few other families around the holidays. I like to do something different each year and I have gotten a lot of inspiration from Trader Joe’s. I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with Trader Joe’s this time of year. They always have such yummy and unique goodies- I just can’t resist buying and tasting them! Needless to say, the goodies are NOT good for you. Darn you Trader Joe’s!
Two of the things I tried this year were the Salted Dark Chocolate Almonds and the Dark Chocolate Caramel Corn. Yum and yum. I started thinking… why not do my own version of caramel corn WITH the Salted Dark Chocolate Almonds? I gained a few pounds just thinking about it. I have never made caramel corn so I looked around Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs. I finally settled on a Taste of Home recipe. You will need:
10 cups popped popcorn
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Salted Dark Chocolate Almonds
Can you tell I literally ripped open the almonds?? They are so sinfully good. I used the Popcornopolis brand popcorn from Costco. After I ravaged the almonds, I preheated the oven to 200 degrees F. I put the popcorn in a large bowl and then lined a sheet tray with parchment paper.
Then I put the butter, brown sugar, dark corn syrup and salt in a heavy saucepan. I also accidentally added the baking soda, but luckily I realized it in time and got it out! Once the mixture came to a boil I cooked it until it reached 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer. THEN, I added the baking soda and stirred to combine! I quickly poured the sugar mixture over the popcorn and added the chocolate almonds. I stirred the mixture very quickly. A lot of the chocolate from the almonds melted. I could hardly keep my hands out of it!
I dumped the mixture onto the sheet tray and baked it for 45 minutes (stirring once). Lucy and her friend, Ali, were watching the timer… literally! Their eyes were glued to it. I sent them outside assuring them time would go by faster if they were playing! They took another timer outside with them so they would know when my timer went off!
A very long 45 minutes later, it was done. The girls came in and loved it! Because of the melted chocolate, they got pretty messy. I put the sheet tray in the fridge until the chocolate set. O.M.G. I had to send this stuff home with Ali because it was beyond addicting! This is a KEEPER and if I can keep myself from eating it, I will be putting it in my cookie tins FOR SURE!