Spring is in the air! It was 85 F today, not a cloud in sight. Close to that yesterday. We’ve been down in the creek, to the park, strolling uptown (just another 2 weeks until the students go home-woo hoo! with apologies to any college kids reading this, but our little town is so peaceful when you are gone). Everything is not solidly green yet, but it is getting there. And the wildlife in our little corner of the world is slowly waking up. We’ve had june bugs batting at our screens, ticks crawling in our beds (sad but true), frogs hopping in the creek and deer nibbling at our leaves. OK the deer never stop, but still…
The above was taken at dusk, lest you are thinking it does not look very sunny!
The beginning of May brings tulips, June bugs, and, of course, all those wonderful food blogging events I partake in. First up is The Leftovers Club, where we get lovely, tasty surprises in the mail. Does it get any better than that? My partner this month was Roxana, from Roxana’s Home Baking. I already know Roxana from Chocolate Party, so I knew whatever I got was going to be awesome, and it was. Sammy in particular could not get enough of what we have been calling “Chocolate Bars,” but I think Roxana called them Chocolate Chip Bars:
This month I chose to send a snack more than a dessert. While shopping in D.C. over spring break, I came across a clearance copy of Cynthia Nims’ Salty Snacks: Make Your Own Chips, Crisps, Crackers, Pretzels, Dips, and Other Savory Bites and instantly had to have it. And the first recipe I bookmarked was the salty sweet Garam Masala Caramel Corn. Now I would imagine this recipe can vary radically depending on your garam masala. Mine is homemade, and always heavy on the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. As a result, many people remarked that the caramel corn tasted almost like ginger snap caramel corn. Amusingly, the garam masala has no ginger. I would be curious to also try a more commercial garam masala, heavier on the cumin and coriander. I bet it would be fantastic also. This recipe is endlessly flexible–try different nuts, different spices!
I also hope you check out what everyone else made for The Leftovers Club:
Whey Beyond the Naked Truth – Chia Seed Protein Bites
Don’t you wish you could enjoy some of these leftovers with us? You can! Visit The Leftovers Club online for more details!
- 8 cups popped popcorn, about 1/4 cup kernels
- 1 cup chopped, roasted, and salted pistachios
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 T garam masala
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 t coarse sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 250 F.
Make the popcorn, and spread it out in a large roasting pan. Scatter the pistachios over the popcorn--leave it scattered on top. I shook mine down and they did not stick to the popcorn as well because they ended up on the bottom, under the caramel.
If you have a candy thermometer, place it beside your stove.
Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garam masala, and keep stirring for 1 minute. It should become quite aromatic.
Add the brown sugar and light corn syrup. Stir once and then let come to a boil.
If you have a candy thermometer, place it in the saucepan now.
Stir the syrup while it boils, for about 3-4 minutes. It should reach 300 F.
Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda.
Pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss gently to combine. Do not worry about whether it coats every piece evenly. Sprinkle with salt and place it in the oven.
Bake for 1 hour, tossing the popcorn every 15 minutes (you will need to remove it from the oven to do this). If you want more salt, this is a good time to sprinkle more salt (if you are unsure, remove a piece and let it cool before trying it).
When you remove the popcorn from the oven for the last time, toss again to prevent excessive sticking. Let cool completely before serving or storing.