The story below is dedicated to my friend Gina Matter. She will understand when she reads this…..I remember the day she posted about how ‘cute’ it was when her dog ate the Banana Bread. I smugly thought, “my sweet dog would never do anything like that”. Ha! Sorry, Gina….it IS actually kinda cute…..
Last night we had a fun Progressive party to meet our new neighbors. I live in a wonderful area with 16 houses, and fortunately everyone is social and enjoys getting together. Dessert was at my house, and I received several recipe requests for my caramel corn, and my Kahlua Bananas Burleson. But FIRST I need to tell you about our dog disaster. After blogging, I always have lots of food left over and have to find ways to give it away. What better way to do that but to package everything up nicely, and pass it out to the neighbors when they leave? So I arranged 3 little loaves of Banana Bread, 5 bags of caramel corn, two pans lemon cheesecakes, plus salsa, chutney, and jam. They all looked so pretty up on my HIGH countertop–I took great care to put them high enough that I didn’t think Keeper could reach. WRONG. When we got back after an hour and a half at the neighbors, the big bowl was on the floor, empty. A few crumbs were all I could find of the banana bread, and all the popcorn was gone. Careful searching revealed a few hidden bags (in our bed, behind the cushions on the couch, and outside in my potted geraniums). This dog is so sneaky and quiet. All the things I recovered were totally intact. No holes in the bags, no teeth marks. He’s a very Gentle Thief! And I had to scrounge to give food away to the neighbors! But I digress….. Here is the recipe for the caramel corn.
COOK 44’s CARAMEL CORN
First, pop 3 bags of microwave popcorn. I always take 2 large bowls and pour the corn into one and with my hands scoop out handfuls of the popped corn, shaking them as I go, to remove the unpopped kernels. Do them one bag at a time….it’s easier. You will always end up with about 10 little hard kernels, which of course you discard. You sure don’t want anyone to break a tooth with those!
Now, in a small but deep saucepan, melt 2 sticks of butter and mix in 2 cups brown sugar and 1/2 cup white corn syrup. Add 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring this to a boil and boil 5 minutes. Some recipes say not to stir, but I can never resist stirring a couple of times. After 5 minutes, remove from heat and add One Tsp. baking soda (be sure to smash the little lumps out). Stir quickly into the mix, and watch it! It will grow and you have to be careful not to spill it out of the pan. Ask me how I know……
Pour carefully over the popcorn which should be in a large enough pot or bowl to toss easily with two big spoons. Do your best to cover every bit of it! Now, spread the corn on two cookie sheets (a Silpat really helps with this part). Put into a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes, take out and toss again, and finish for 30 more minutes. Remove pans, let cool, and break it all up into bowls or bags. This is where that Silpat comes in again, as you can literally roll it up and it makes it super easy to break up.
Now, the BANANAS BURLESON
In a skillet (I used a cast iron), melt one stick real butter and add 1 cup brown sugar. Stir till dissolved, and add 1 oz. Kahlua. (Fun trick: I bought one of those little airport sized bottles of Kahlua at Total Wine because it’s not something I use a lot of, and one little bottle is exactly the right amount for this recipe).
Bring it all to a boil, and cook about 5 minutes. At the very last minute, add 3 or 4 bananas, which you have sliced lengthwise, and cut into thirds. Place in mix, cook about 30 seconds on flat side, then turn over, cover and turn off heat. You don’t really want to overcook the bananas till mushy. They need to be a little firm. Serve hot over ice cream, or as a sauce for pound cake. This is SO scrumptious….and you could certainly use other liquers, such as Bailey’s, Frangelico, anything you like!!