Popcorn is one of those snacks that I cannot give up. My idea of perfect is a big bowl of corn popped in coconut oil and liberally sprinkled with salt. Caramel corn comes close and so does real state fair kettle corn but I can live without the sweet and 99% of the time, it is just a sprinkle of salt on top for me.
With Valentine’s day approaching, I was thinking of my girls and how much I wish I could spend more time with them but since we are scattered now, mailing a box of goodies to each of them would have to suffice. That’s where the corn comes in; it is light weight and easy to ship. But honestly, who wants to get a box of plain old popcorn?
While searching for a recipe, this one caught my eye-blame it on the red color of the corn. When I saw the recipe used cinnamon hearts, I knew this sweet and spicy combination was just what I wanted.
Have you ever really looked at popcorn? The stuff you get in bags and at the fair always seems so much larger when it pops than the kernels you get from the supermarket and there is a good reason for that. Believe it or not, there is a special type of corn out there that will pop into large round puffs and it is called mushroom corn. Take a good look at the puff above. Notice how it is a larger, rounder puff with a texture on the outside that looks a little like a mushroom cap? You will have to seek this one out, search for it online and if you are lucky to live near a store that carries it, buy some and try it out.
When we moved from TN to VA, I had to get rid of a bunch of things and the old avocado green corn popper that I had since my days at the CIA got the old heave ho. These days, I make my popcorn on the stove top and when I pop mushroom corn, I love how nearly all of the kernels pop.
All bagged up and ready to ship. If you make this, let me share a few hints with you. Make your popcorn first! If you can get the mushroom corn, use it because the little nooks and crannies on the outside will catch the candy nicely. The original recipe for this called for 8 cups of popped corn from 1/3 cup of kernels, I doubled up on the recipe and 2/3 cup of mushroom corn made about 12 cups of popcorn so I made a second 12 cups. However, when I doubled the syrup, it made a huge amount and I personally would suggest you make double the popcorn called for-to me it was way too much candy for the amount of popcorn. Instead, dump the extra hearts into a bag with the candied corn as a garnish.
Cinnamon Heart Popcorn
Recipe from Debbie at One little Project
8-24 cups of previously popped corn, in a large bowl or pot
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup cinnamon hearts
Preheat the oven to 250F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silpats and set aside. Place the butter into a heavy bottom saucepan and over low heat, melt completely. Add the corn syrup and the cinnamon hearts to the melted butter, turn the heat to medium and gently stir it continuously to melt the candies. It should come to a steady boil for several minutes and the temperature will be somewhere around 230F. Carefully pour the syrup over the top of the corn and using a metal spoon, stir it to coat the corn evenly-you can pour it in portions, stirring in between to make sure it is all coated evenly. This mixture is very hot and can burn, pour it away from yourself and don’t even think of using your hands to mix it!!!
Dump the corn out onto the two sheet pans and bake for 15 minutes, rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back and bake for 15 minutes more. Allow it to completely cool before bagging or placing into an airtight container.
Clean up is best done by placing all the tools into the pot and filling it with hot water, set over low heat and the candy mixture will melt.