Caramel Popcorn
makes 8 cups

1 to 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (I use safflower)
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbs sea salt
1 tsp baking soda


Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a lidded pot. Add the popcorn and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the popcorn stops popping. Transfer the popcorn to a very large oiled bowl. If you can, remove the unpopped kernels.

Place the sugar in a large saucepan and dampen with about 2 Tbsp water (enough so the mixture looks like damp sand). Add the butter and salt and heat over high, stirring constantly, until the sugar is melted and the caramel is amber--do not let it get too dark, this happens very quickly!. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the baking soda.

Pour the hot caramel over the popcorn and carefully stir with a wooden spoon until the caramel is evenly distributed and beginning to cool. Spread on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet, cool to room temperature, then break into pieces and serve or store in a covered container.




Honeycomb Toffee (Sponge Candy)

Materials

  1 cup sugar
  1 cup corn syrup (light or dark)
  1 tablespoon vinegar
  1 tablespoon baking soda
    9 x 13 inch baking pan

 
1) Line the baking pan with foil and grease the foil.
2) Mix the sugar, corn syrup and vinegar in a medium saucepan.  The mixture will bubble, so be sure the pot is large enough to hold everything!
3) Heat the sugar mixture over medium heat, stirring until the sugar melts.
4) Once the sugar melts and the mixture starts to bubble stop stirring.  Cook until the mixture measures 290oF (hard crack) on a candy thermometer.   The solution will be extremely hot!
5) Turn off the heat and mix in the baking soda.  The mixture will lighten in color and become opaque.  Do not over mix because too much mixing will deflate the bubbles.
6) Pour the mixture into the pan.  Allow to cool.  Break into pieces and enjoy!

Homemade Caramel (click for more in depth instructions)

  • Yield: 1 1/4 cups caramel

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup cream

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt

1) In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat the sugar on medium low heat until its completely melted, swirling the pan gently every 20 seconds or so. The sugar will start to form clumps before melting slowly. Be patient and keep an eye on it to make sure it does not burn.

2) Once melted, remove from heat immediately and stir in the butter. The mixture will violently bubble. You’re doing it right.

3) Next, pour in the heavy cream and 1/2 teaspoon of the sea salt. Stir until everything is combined. Taste a spoonful of cooled caramel. If desired add the remaining sea salt to taste!

4) Pour into small bowl or cup and allow to cool completely before using. (add to buttercream when cool)

Italian Buttercream (click for more in depth instructions)

  • 4 egg whites large, room temperature (122g)

  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (267g)

  • 1/4 tsp salt optional

  • 16 ounces unsalted butter (454g), room temperature cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract optional, (4.9mL)

  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (.84g)

  • 1/3 cup water (79mL)

  • Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar, slowly add in 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form.

  • While the eggs are getting whipped add the remaining sugar and 1/3 cup water into a medium pot and place on medium-low heat.

  • Stir until sugar melts and becomes clear.

  • Maintain at medium-high heat until temperature reads 235-240F.

  • Drizzle the sugar into the mixer immediately. At this point the meringue should be at the soft peak stage.

  • Run mixer until meringue is cool/tepid.

  • Switch to a paddle attachment. Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time.

  • Add the salt and vanilla if using.

  • Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.