This is a brilliant take on an old fashioned favorite – peanut brittle. When I was small my Dad would make peanut brittle as a winter treat. Because of the intense heat the wood stove had to generate to get the syrup up to the right temperature this was a cold weather treat. He would test the syrup by dropping spoonfuls on to a plate of snow to ascertain if it was at the soft or hard ball state. This ritual, this chopping of kindling, mixing the sugar, chopping the nuts was as much about entertainment as having a sweet treat.
Replacing the nuts in brittle with popcorn removes a lot of calories. It also results in a wonderful hybrid – part caramel corn, part brittle. The brittle is crunchy and sweet, with just a hint of saltiness. Packed in decorative containers this popcorn brittle makes a great party gift. Store brittle in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days.
|POPCORN BRITTLE|| |
- vegetable oil
- 5½ cups popcorn, popped without salt (1/4 cup kernels)
- 1½ cups sugar
- 6 tbsp light-colored corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tbs cooking molasses
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ sea salt
- Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it lightly with vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Place popcorn in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Crush popcorn using a meat mallet or rolling pin; set aside.
- Combine sugar, syrup, and ¼ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook 1 minute or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly.
- Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 270F (about 8 minutes).
- Stir in molasses and butter; cook until thermometer registers 290F. (about 5 minutes).
- Stir in baking soda, vanilla.
- Remove from heat.
- Stir popcorn into boiling syrup mixture.
- Working quickly, pour popcorn mixture onto prepared pan and spread to ¼-inch thickness using a wooden spoon coated with vegetable oil.
- Sprinkle mixture with sea salt.
- Cool completely;; break into large pieces.
- Yield 12 servings