I found a new way to predict winter storms and snow days. When Melissa has the urge to make popcorn, a winter storm is coming. Even though I'd just made these popcorn balls during last week's snow day, I had the urge to make caramel corn. Not long afterword a winter storm blew in another snow day. While it's not much in the way of a weather pattern it does warrant a winter storm warning: imminent danger if stranded inside with a bowl of this crunchy orange-ginger caramel corn with cranberries and peanuts. Proceed at your own risk.
Orange-Ginger Caramel Corn
16 cups popped popcorn
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1 orange, finely grated peel only
1-1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
* Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large heat-proof bowl combine popcorn, cranberries and peanuts; set aside.
* In a 2-qt or larger saucepan combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, orange juice concentrate, grated orange peel, ginger, cinnamon, Chinese five spice powder, cloves and salt. Bring to a boil over medium to medium-high heat. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes, until mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda; mixture will foam.
* Pour syrup over popcorn and stir to coat. Spread onto prepared baking sheet and bake 45-50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely before breaking into pieces; coating will harden as it cools. Store in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
Food for Thought: "The energy of the mind is the essence of life." -Aristotle