Author Topic: Chocolate Striped Maple Caramel Corn  (Read 67 times)

Olga Drozd

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Chocolate Striped Maple Caramel Corn
« on: December 05, 2017, 08:23:34 PM »
Chocolate Striped Maple Caramel Corn

This snack is outrageously good; sweet, crunchy, and buttery.  The maple syrup and the two chocolate drizzle elevate it beyond normal caramel corn.  Use the biggest bowl you can find--preferably one that holds four quarts or more--to mix the popcorn with the caramel, or you won't have room to stir the popcorn and evenly distribute the caramel.

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels

1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons white chocolate morsels
3 Tablespoons bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate morsels  OR milk chocolate morsels

Coat a very large mixing bowl with cooking spray; set aside. 

In medium saucepan, combine oil with a few popcorn kernels. Heat over medium heat until the kernels begin to pop, then add remaining popcorn and cover the saucepan.  Cook, shaking constantly, until all kernels have popped.  Transfer popped corn to prepared mixing bowl; set aside.

In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, combine maple syrup, butter, and salt; clip a tested candy thermometer to the side of the of the pan (see TIP),  Place pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts.  Cook without stirring until mixture reaches the HARD CRACK STAGE, 88 degrees above boiling (300 degrees F. if your thermometer measures boiling water at 212 degrees F.) see Note;  swirl the mixture in the pan occasionally to keep it well mixed, and tilt the pan if necessary so the tip of the thermometer is well covered by the boiling mixture. It will take 15 to 20 minutes or longer for the caramel to reach the proper stage.  While the syrup mixture is cooking, coat a 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan (or large rimmed baking sheet) and a wooden spoon with cooking spray.

When the mixture reaches the hard crack stage, pour it in a medium stream over the popcorn, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon until well mixed. Immediately transfer the popcorn to the greased jelly roll pan, spreading it out with the wooden spoon.

Place the white chocolate morsels in a small microwave safe bowl.  Microwave at 70 percent power for 40 seconds, then stir with a teaspoon; the morsels will probably be softened but not yet melted.  Return to microwave and cook for 15 seconds at 70 percent power and stir again; repeat until the mixture can be stirred smooth. Spoon the melted chocolate into the corner of a small freezer weight plastic zipper bag.  Cut a very tiny hole in the corner of the bag, then squeeze the melted chocolate into the corner and drizzle it over the caramel corn.

Now add the dark or milk chocolate morsels to the same bowl; melt as you did with the white chocolate, stirring the mixture well to blend any remaining white chocolate with the dark or milk chocolate.  Spoon the mixture into the other corner of the zipper bag, cut another tiny hole, and drizzle it over the caramel corn.  Let the corn set up for at least 30 minutes; if the chocolate is still runny, transfer the clusters to a large container and refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden the chocolate.  Once set, the caramel corn can be stored at room temperature.  Makes about 10 cups.

TIP: To test the caramel mixture for the hard crack stage without a thermometer, drop a bit of the boiling mixture into a bowl of cold water.  When it is at the hard crack stage, the mixture will from a hard, brittle thread that can be broken. 

VARIATIONS:

  For plain maple caramel corn, omit the chocolate morsels.
  For nutty maple caramel corn, add 3/4 to 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts to the popcorn in the bowl before preparing the caramel.  Cashews, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, or hickory nuts all work well.  The nutty maple caramel corn can be drizzled with chocolate or enjoyed plain.

NOTE:  TESTING A THERMOMETER:

The temperature of boiling water at sea level is 212 degrees, but individual thermometers may read a slightly different number; furthermore, the actual boiling temperate of water may be different at your exact location and may also change from day to day due to atmospheric conditions.  Although it's extra work, it is really important to check the accuracy of your thermometer each time you use it for reducing syrup to a specific temperature.  Candymakers are accustomed to take this step when working with regular sugar, and the method is the same for maple.

Simply take the temperature of a pan of vigorously boiling water with the thermometer you'll be using, ensuring that you give the thermometer enough time to stabilize.  Jot down the temperature of the boiling water, then add the "degrees above boiling" to that number and use the result as your target when following the recipe.  For example, if your thermometer measure boiling water at 210 degrees F. and the recipe says to cook the syrup to 18 degrees above boiling, you should cook the syrup to a temperature of 228 degrees F..  This simple step ensures success--and you won't have to scrape a hardened mess out of your pan because you overcooked the syrup.  When you're done cooking, remember that sticky spoons and pots with cooked on maple usually clean up easily after a short soak in cold water.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 11:41:46 AM by Olga Drozd »