Monday, January 19, 2009
When I was a kid there were candy stores that sold different flavors of candied popcorn. Candied popcorn is like caramel corn but instead of a caramel coating, you would have some other flavor. I remember looking in the glass cases and there would just be a rainbow of colors. There was cherry and blueberry and my favorite, cinnamon. Oh, and the smell: it was divine, I remember it perfectly. Now, there is not a store like that to be found and my cravings have been going unfed. After sifting through a lot of recipes I finally came up with my own version. I've made it as one of my Christmas gifts the last two years and it is always the first thing that's gone. It's worth the work to make and will keep for a month or two in a ziploc bag. I hope that you give this one a try and let me know if you enjoyed it.
6 quarts of popped popcorn. (pop in a Stir Crazy or on the stove, do NOT use microwave popcorn.)
12 ounces of cinnamon red hot candies
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. or 1 dram of cinnamon oil. You need oil, not extract, you can find it at www.lorannoils.com
Preheat the oven to 250º. Butter a large roasting pan and add the popcorn to it. If you want you can put the popcorn in the oven to warm while you are preparing the candy coating, but it's not necessary.
Pour the red hot candies into a 2 cup measure and then start adding sugar to the candies, stopping to shake it down into all the nooks and crannies until the sugar reaches the 2 cup line.
In a heavy skillet, bring the candies, sugar, butter, water, corn syrup and salt to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly for five minutes.
Remove from heat and add the baking soda and cinnamon oil. Stir well and stand back to avoid the steam that will come up from the oil, some people are sensitive to it. I like to add the oil outside if possible or open a lot of windows so that my house doesn't smell like cinnamon forever.
Pour over popcorn and toss quickly with a buttered wooden spoon to distribute the candy coating evenly.
Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and pour out onto parchment paper or a clean granite or marble counter. Break up the larger clumps as it is cooling and then store in ziploc bags or a plastic container once completely cool. If you like cinnamon, watch out, this is addictive!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I normally only post recipes in this blog but I thought that this was a food worthy subject. Last night a new acquaintance and neighbor of mine called and asked me to go to a wine and cheese tasting with her. It was very impromptu, but my dear husband was happy to watch the kids (God bless him) so I went. The tasting was held by the community we live in and among the different vendors attending there was a Georgia winery. What a treat the evening turned out to be.
Never having experienced a formal wine tasting, I was mesmerized. I knew that there were some vineyards in Georgia but, for no certain reason, I never tried any of their wines. Let me just say, I was very pleasantly surprised. The attending winery was the Boutier Winery. They have a store front in Acworth, GA, www.boutierwine.com, but their actual vineyards are in northwest Georgia www.boutierwinery.com. Being a Georgia winery they could hardly go without making a beautiful Peach Chardonnay, which for two consecutive years, earned a concordance gold medal at the Indy International Wine Competition. The Peach Chardonnay has also won best in class! They also earned a silver medal for their Elegance Vin Rouge, a unique blend of syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, and a bronze medal for their What a Great Pear, a pear wine aged in coffee beans.
Now, honestly, I never even knew that there was an Indy International Wine Competition, but I was still impressed! And, the proof is in the pudding, or in this case the wine, which was outstanding. Their Peach Ice Wine blew me away. I learned that ice wines are harvested right after the first hard freeze or frost to make the flavors more intense, or at least I think that is how they put it. The Peach Ice Wine had a chocolate aftertaste, and it was divine. Because of how it is made the alcohol content in the ice wine is much higher, almost elevating it to a liqueur so it would be great as a dessert wine or in place of a cognac or brandy. I tried some of their reds and whites and brought a bottle of their Cabernet Franc (2005) home for my hubby as an early birthday present. If you like strong reds, this one has a incredible fig aftertaste, I could not stop sipping it.
If you are any kind of wine connoisseur I highly recommend checking out any of your local or state wineries. If you ever hear of a tasting for one of them, I encourage you to go! You will not only be supporting local business but you will be supporting something that is made in America! And, it's educational. Great job Boutier Winery!