Thursday, July 25, 2013

Coconut Curry and Cashew Caramel Corn

This summer has been full of family vacations! In June, we drove to Montana for a week with the fam. Did I mention that Montana is especially breath taking in June?

Our road trip strategy [probably only successful because our kid is still in diapers] is to pack enough snacky/meal things so that we don't have to stop for food. I pre-sliced apples and cheese, froze yogurt sticks and had PBJ supplies on hand. Of course, I had to add in the Spitzer family required assortment of sour gummy candies. The only thing that was missing was something crunchy, sweet and salty. I began thinking about my mom's unbelievable caramel corn recipe. It is so good as is but I happened to be feeling a bit creative. I adore coconut and nuts and thought that warm, slightly spicy curry powder would be the perfect addition to the caramel.

It was unbelievable! We had enough to fill 2 gallon Ziploc bags which meant that we had a bunch leftover for vacation snackage.

Coconut Curry and Cashew Caramel Corn2, 9x 13 pans, greased with butter wrappers
5 qts popped popcorn [1/2 cup of kernels yields about 4 qts when popped]
1 cup salted butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking soda
4 t curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp good vanilla
1 tsp coconut extract or emulsion
2 cups of cashews
14 oz shredded, sweetened coconut

*In my original recipe, I used a couple more quarts of popcorn but decided that it would have been better with a greater caramel to corn ratio. The pictures of my caramel corn will look a little less caramelly than your caramel corn will. 

Pop your popcorn and divide into 2 large mixing bowls. Be sure to remove any unpopped kernels [They get rock hard during the baking process and can really hurt your teeth].

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pot.  Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.  
Bring to a boil stirring constantly and then let boil for five minutes without stirring.  Remove from the heat. Stir in the baking soda, curry, cinnamon, vanilla and coconut extract. The baking soda will make the caramel foam up.
Stir the nuts and shredded coconut into the caramel. Gradually pour the caramel mixture over the popped popcorn and stir to coat and combine.  
Turn into 2 large baking pans.  Bake in 250ยบ oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Alternate shelves each time you stir for more even baking. Remove from the oven and cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container.