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Recipe Thursday-Coconut-Curry-Caramel Corn

Posted on August 30th, 2012 | Posted in Dessert, Recipes

Well, August birthday celebration arrived and one of the birthday boy’s favorite foods is caramel corn so I took a little creative liberty and made Coconut-Curry-Caramel Corn. Well, I believe the flavors in this caramel corn definitely top my list for favorite caramel corns. The fact that the peanuts were candied in spices and coconut milk and browned added a whole new flavor element.  Also, the addition of curry spices and toasted coconut mellowed out the usual overbearing sweetness of caramel corn. Enjoy I know that we sure did at Hometown!

Coconut-Curry-Caramel Corn

Yield 18 Cups

1½ cups shredded coconut (991903)
2 cups peanuts (992504)
2 tablespoons well-shaken canned coconut milk (BK0401)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, divided (NSU2250P
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided (CQS030)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided (CQC017)
Nonstick cooking spray (992016)
18 cups popped popcorn (from about ¾ cup kernels)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (CQC094)
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric (CQT073)
½ teaspoon baking soda (991858)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (CQN061)
½ teaspoon paprika (CQP010)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (CQC065)
2 sticks unsalted butter (880000)
½ cup light corn syrup (992601)

Preheat the oven to 250°. Spread the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and place it in the oven and cook, stirring once or twice, until the coconut is toasted and golden, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While the coconut toasts and cools, make the candied peanuts: In a small bowl, combine the peanuts, coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, lime zest, ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the cayenne pepper. Transfer to a medium nonstick skillet set over medium high heat and cook, without stirring, until the nuts start to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the peanuts are completely browned, about 5 minutes longer. (The pan may smoke slightly; this is okay.)

Transfer the mixture to a large plate and set aside to cool. When cool, use your fingers to break the mixture into smaller pieces.

Make the caramel corn: Spray an extra-large mixing bowl (don’t use plastic), rubber spatula, wooden spoon and 2 rimmed baking sheets with nonstick pan spray. Place the popcorn, candied peanuts and toasted coconut in the sprayed bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1½ teaspoons of salt, ground cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric, baking soda, nutmeg, paprika, remaining ¼ teaspoon of cayenne  and cinnamon and set aside.

In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the remaining 2 cups brown sugar and the corn syrup. Stir occasionally with the greased rubber spatula until the butter is completely melted, then stir constantly until the bubbles in the mixture are thick and the caramel registers 255° on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the spices.

Immediately pour the spiced caramel over the popcorn mixture, stirring with the greased wooden spoon until all of the popcorn is evenly coated.

Divide the mixture between the two baking sheets and spread each into an even layer. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes to keep from burning.

Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Once cool, serve or pack into airtight bags; the caramel corn will remain fresh for up to four days.

Recipe adapted from Susan Feniger’s Street Food

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