Well, my kids are no longer “vacation-bored,” but they still complain there’s nothing interesting to do at home. Apparently, we should eliminate weekends. So we decided to have a “rewarding experience” with a fun “session in the kitchen” — mid-century recipe testing!
And it messed up, so we’re running really late posting, but it’s still Guest Test Sunday.
- 1 foil package ready-to-pop corn
- 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
- 1/2 cup butterscotch pieces
- 1 cup ground dry toasted peanuts
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 pound vanilla caramels
- Pop corn according to package directions. Set aside.
- Mix sugar, milk and syrup together. Heat, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved. Bring to boil and cook, continuing to stir, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and butterscotch pieces, and stir until candy melts. Stir in nuts. Cool. Then shape into roll and chill in refrigerator.
- Add water to caramels and melt over hot water. When melted, cool to almost lukewarm. Add to popped corn and mix well.
- Place candy roll in center of popped corn-caramel mixture. Shape corn around candy roll so it is completely covered. Let stand for about an hour. Cut into 1/4 inch slices. Makes about 30 slices.
This looks pretty easy, and pretty tasty.
It’s not easy to find foil package popcorn. However, it’s easy to put popcorn in a pot with some oil and make it the “old fashioned” way. (It’s easier to put it in a plain paper bag in the microwave — but I figured we’re doing mid-century, not 70’s, so I should use appropriate tools…)
cream evaporated milk, corn syrup, sugar, and butter together, cooked, and then added all the additional flavoring bits. We had to leave it to cool for a while…
And at this point the recipe totally fails. The “candy roll” never solidified to the point that it could be rolled into anything; after twenty-four hours in the fridge, it’s still dribbling off a spoon.
We decided to sorta-kinda finish it, though. What sort of mid-century recipe tester just clutches her pearls and weeps when something fails? Not me. I started it Saturday morning, I’ll finish something Sunday morning, even if it’s just a goopy mess.
I made the caramel popcorn, shaped it into a rectangle, and poured chocolate butterscotch candy stuff all over the top.
“This was supposed to be a roll, huh?”
“It didn’t exactly work. Obviously. Take a bite!”
After a sticky, drippy bite, he decided it was good.
Verdict: Yummy candy, very sticky.
The tasting and cooking notes:
The candy-making process was the failure point. I know it boiled and kept boiling for 3 minutes, but that didn’t bring about whatever phase change is needed to change sweet stuff from mostly-liquid to mostly-solid. Even with “mother’s supervision,” this seems quite challenging for a kid’s cookie session.
The flavors worked well. Butterscotch, chocolate, peanuts, and caramel were all evident flavors and played well together — it would be nice to revisit this some day and see if I can get it working.
And one final note: Here’s wishing all mothers a Happy Mother’s Day!
Hmm, too bad that didn’t work, it sounds delicious! I wonder what would fix it? Boil it longer maybe?
That’s my best guess — presumably the sugar needed cook for longer to “set” properly? I don’t know much about candy making, so I’m going to research the process a little more before trying again.
That sucks! It looked like it would be really promising. I wonder if you could cook the sugar and corn syrup first and then add the evaporated milk later, kind of like caramel? Maybe that would work better!
You said you mixed the cream, corn syrup, etc. together. If you used cream instead of evaporated milk, the higher water content might be the problem. If that was a typo and you actually used evaporated milk, then I’m not sure… At least it tasted good!
Candy making is a thing all to itself, involving the dreaded “drop a bit in a glass of water to see if its at cracking stage” and a big scary thermometer, not to mention vats of boiling sugar. Another thing probably best left to the experts, like fried chicken, Chinese food, and often pizza.
That was a typo. I’ve made two chocolate-based recipes this week and the other one involved cream. Sorry for the confusion 🙂
Don’t be scared! The thermometer makes it easy. Just keep cooking and stirring until it hits the mark. I’d say firm ball, maybe? If it starts smoking, quick, take it off the heat for a sec and lower the temp, then keep going. You have to do the “drop a bit in water” thing only if you don’t have a thermometer. That’s not hard, either, but my problem is that while I’m testing, the candy keeps cooking…
Isn’t foil package popcorn Jiffy Pop? The popcorn you do on the stovetop? I just saw it by the entrance of my local Fred Meyers.
I am sadly inept with any kind of candy thermometer. The few times I tried to make fudge from scratch-disaster!
Jeez, most popcorn is done on the stovetop-I mean it is already in it’s little pan, and you just shake, shake, shake it-and it has that awesome bubble?
Well, fudge is in another class–lots of chances to screw it up. As I understand it, if you get even one crystal in it, it all crystalizes at once–gets hard and crumbly. Alton Brown explains it well. Something about being careful in the stirring, that you don’t knock any sugar crystals off the sides of the pan.
Try toffee or peanut brittle or this fondant recipe. Much easier.
You can't make any kind of "caramel"/toffee type thing in a non-stick pot. It actually doesn't let the candy get hot enough no matter what your thermometer says. I ruined many a batch of toffee before I bought a steel pot. After that it worked fine.
I just looked at the recipe again, and you mentioned adding butter to that candy mixture..,but there isn’t any butter listed in the recipe, just butterscotch candy pieces! Assuming you actually did put butter in there and it wasn’t a typo, I’m guessing the additional water and fat in the butter is what messed up your candy and made it not set up!