Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday's Twist: Orange-Ginger Caramel Corn

Tuesday's Twist:  A basic recipe with a fun twist.  In other words, just another excuse for me to play around with weird recipes I've been dying to try.

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.

While my popcorn impulses don't necessarily indicate winter storms, they are often times a result of the ever churning storm in my brain.  This recipe randomly jumped out of my brain around Christmas, right after I made gingerbread popcorn.  It came without warning and with such intensity that before I knew it, there was a batch of popcorn at my finger tips.  A friend asked me where I got the idea, and I said  "umm...I don't know?...my head?"  In the aftermath of said storm I happened to scribble down the measurements I used.

Orange juice concentrate and grated orange peel add sweet and subtle orange notes complemented by warm winter spices.  If you've ever had the homemade tea mix with Tang and spices (often called Russian Tea), you'll know just how cozy orange and spices can get.  The storm brewing between my ears poured out cinnamon, ginger and cloves, plus some Chinese five spice powder for a little extra fruity flair.  Dried cranberries and peanuts change our storm watch to a full-blown storm warning.  Dangerously addictive.  Be prepared to stay ahead of accumulation by rapidly shoveling from hand to mouth.

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 

No comments:

Post a Comment