Monday, January 19, 2009
Cinnamon Candied Popcorn
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!