I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite pictures from this Christmas, like hubby and I scrambling to make it in time for the timer:
Or kind of adorable kiss-pic (I have witch hair in this one):
And my wonderful in-laws!
And it's also a timely moment to share a party recipe that you can make ahead for New Years. It's delicious - more delicious than it sounds. It is also incredibly easy and fail-proof and no candy thermometer or complicated equipment is involved.
Dark Caramel Corn
You will need: About 4 - 5 quarts of plain popcorn. Follow directions on a bag of corn kernels to pop; let it sit uncovered while you make the caramel. (I actually don't measure the popcorn; I just pop a big pot-ful).
For the caramel, you will need:
1 stick butter
2 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup (light or dark)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
AND either 1 cup salted nuts (cashews are yummy) or 1 tsp kosher salt
Set up 2 foiled, greased cookie sheets and pour popcorn onto them. If you are using nuts, pour the nuts on top of the popcorn. Preheat oven to 250 F.
In a saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt on high. Stir continuously until mixture boils. Let it boil for 3 minutes without stirring. Turn the burner off and stir in the extract and baking soda (it will foam up). Pour the hot caramel over the popcorn and stir it up with a large spoon or spatula, trying to coat most of the popcorn (don't worry, as you bake the caramel will distribute more evenly).
If you did NOT use nuts, sprinkle kosher salt over the pans before popping them in the oven.
Set the timer for an hour and go watch TV. Every 15 minutes stir the popcorn and rotate the baking sheets if you have them on different oven racks. Remove the popcorn and let it cool; break up large chunks before storing in an airtight container.
I brought this to work and my technicians were actually fighting over it, which made for a rather hostile work environment.
Are you having a New Years' party or get-together? Or are you heading out on the town? Or acting like an old person and going to bed (ME!)?