It is end of term for the kids today and Max's friend is flying out to Europe next week to live the life of the professors son (meaning the lucky boy gets to jet set off to Europe with his family while dad researches for the next six months).
We got a note in the kids back packs YESTERDAY from his teacher asking if we could bring a plate of food for a little going away party they will be having for child x tomorrow (meaning today).
Great I thought- what the hell am I going to whip up in between football practice, tidying the house due to relatives coming to stay this weekend and getting dinner?? Cupcakes were out of the question due to me using all the eggs for last nights dinner and my baking cupboard was bare except for a packet of popping corn- Hhmmm.
I brought the Craft cookbook a while ago, Tom Colicchio's book. I love looking through getting ideas for dinner or just drooling over meals I wish I had time to cook. In the book there is a fantastic recipe for caramel popcorn. Bring the pastry chef of an Italian restaurant at the time I brought the book, I decided to try it out on the staff. What a success that was! I had them all eating out of my hands for the next few hours and the best part was it was really easy and fast to make. Since then I whip up a batch whenever there is a party going on or in times like these- when I need something sweet on the fly!
Because I have made the popcorn a lot for kids I have reduced the salt from the original Craft recipe and for some reason added extra butter (??) anyway the result is delicious and a true treat for the sweet tooth in all of us. The mix of salty sweet works beautifully, however the only thing you have to watch is separating it in the end. The toffee is bloody hot and picking it apart isn't for people with sensitive fingertips!
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup popping corn kernels
2 cups castor sugar
100g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Add oil and corn to a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid and pop kernels.
Pour into a lightly oiled stainless steal mixing bowl and set aside.
Wash out your popping saucepan quickly then add sugar and water, stir with fingertips until you have the texture of wet sand.
Add butter and salt then bring to the boil on high heat.
Swirl the pot to make toffee, however do NOT stir with a spoon.
Mixture will colour. When it is an even toffee brown colour remove from the heat, sprinkle over baking soda, swirl then pour over popcorn.
With two heat resistant spatulas, begin to toss the caramel with the popcorn until it is all evenly covered.
Once covered, pour popcorn out onto wooden bench and begin separating so it doesn't all clump together.
Leave to cool then store in an air tight container.