A holiday treat from Elk Lake Resort

December 19, 2014…overcast with little snowflakes dancing in the air; 30 degrees.
Happy Holidays from Elk Lake!
Things have settled into a dull roar since Jake and I took over Elk Lake Resort last June so it is high time I write a blog post.
It’s only fitting that my first post as Lady of the Lake is a holiday recipe.  This recipe come to me from my mom and evokes memories of snowy Iowan winters when school had been cancelled.  My mom was a teacher so a snow day was just as special to her as it was to us kids, and it always got turned into a holiday of sorts.

Caramel Corn!  This is not like Cracker Jacks or any other industrial made candy-coated popcorn…this is the real deal.  Caramel that is buttery and crunchy, coating clusters of popcorn and peanuts.  Just the right balance of sweet and salt and addicting enough to make your teeth ache in protest from eating too much.
Don’t try using fake butter in this recipe…you will be disappointed.  The first time I made this recipe and sent some to my mom in her Christmas box she asked, “What recipe did you use??  It was so good!”  She was amazed that the only difference between her caramel corn and mine was the swapping out of margarine (see original recipe) for real butter.
Hint: make sure your bowl is big enough for all the popcorn.  It’s a bit frustrating to stir in the caramel and end up with your counter and floor covered with popcorn.  And by the way…I always double this recipe!

Mom’s Caramel Corn

Boil for 5 minutes:

1 c. brown sugar
1 stick butter
¼ c. light corn syrup

Remove the boiling mixture from the heat and mix in (in order):

½ t. salt
¼ t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla extract

(This mixture will get very foamy…that’s because of the baking soda…and is a necessary chemical reaction to make the caramel topping just right.)

Pour 1/3 over 4 quarts of popped corn (and peanuts if you'd like) and gently mix.  Do this two more times until the caramel is completely coating the popcorn.  Try to be gentle so that you don’t break up the popcorn too much.
Bake at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes to dry the caramel.  Sampling during each stirring is recommended. (!)

Caramel corn is not just for the holidays.  If you’d like to try some of this yummy treat when you come out for a visit, let me know and I’ll whip up a batch.  But you’ll have to share.

Lady of the Lake (aka Laurel)