For my birthday I got a copy of the awesome new book Baked Explorations from my mom. I have only now started to explore the recipes, the first of which was one for caramel popcorn with peanuts and chocolate. Yeah, baby.
If you're looking for a recipe to round out your holiday goodies this year, this one is mighty good. I think the molasses adds some interest to the usual caramel popcorn. Just a note that I only used the dark chocolate and the husband still thought the chocolate overpowered the caramel. I told him he's crazy, but if you prefer more caramel to chocolate, you might want to cut back on the amount of chocolate you use.
24 cups popped popcorn
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups salted peanuts
8 ounces melted milk chocolate
8 ounces melted dark chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn in large roasting pan (or divide between several pans/bowls to make mixing with the caramel a little easier). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and molasses. Continue to heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to boil. Using a candy thermometer, bring mixture to 240 degrees (soft-ball stage).
3. Remove pan from heat and stir in salt, baking soda, and vanilla.
4. Pour caramel over popcorn and sprinkle with peanuts. Use spatula to ensure that popcorn is completely coated with caramel.
5. Place popcorn in roasting pan in oven and bake 15 minutes. Re-fold and coat popcorn with caramel and continue baking for 20 minutes.
6. Remove pan from oven and transfer to lined sheet. Let cool about 15 minutes and then drizzle with melted chocolate.
7. Once chocolate sets up, break popcorn into serving size pieces. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week or immediately begin stuffing your face with the awesome stuff.