Bomb Caramel Corn and March Madness and #stopasianhate
This was suppose to be food blog week, nothing political, nothing controversial, but, as my parents used to say “you either stand for something, or fall for anything”, and, if I don’t speak out, or stand for something, with any platform, then what’s the point?
The United States is a very racist country. In my experience, most of the racism stems from ignorance and fear. Not being exposed to difference breeds fear, not having exposure to difference is a breeding ground for ignorance. Those grow and become more sediment the older we get. The previous “leadership” in the US over the last 4+ years have given credence and acceptance to hate more so than in any of my years, but, we must remember that Love wins, not hate. This rise in Asian hate crimes, again incubated by the last administration, but always hovering below the surface, is absurd. We also know where it comes from, so, ignoring the genesis of the problem is also problematic. We love to create history in this country, but are always reluctant to admit it ever happened. We must continue to encourage our young people that Education and Exposure are keys to having options and being able to make smart choices with those options. With those, difference quickly becomes an asset and fear diminishes into acceptance. Ok, that’s my sermon. Now, let’s eat!
Bomb CB’s Caramel Corn
So good. So simple. Da Bomb.
lay out in roasting oan
add baking soda
Sports has been a means of survival for me during this pandemic and I’m not alone. The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments begin this weekend after being cancelled in 2020 at the start of the outbreak. Though tennis is my favorite spectator sport, Serena Williams being my all-time favorite athlete, before her was and still is Magic Johnson. The Lakers have provided almost as much drama over the years as Hollywood and for those who love sports, the spectacle that is March Madness brings long awaited excitement and anticipation.
pour over popcorn
mix, place in oven
mix every 15 mins
melt chips for drizzle
During my 20-year tour guide career, I’ve probably been to Las Vegas 100 times. A hugely popular stop on any over-the-road tour of the West, often I would be there with underage foreign exchange students, which limits options. After threatening them to not take any photos in the casinos and showing them the film 21 on the bus to discourage shenanigans of any kind, I would let them loose on the Las Vegas strip to explore what they could. (Mostly the rollercoasters and shops), I would then use my free time to hide. Not being a gambler, I would usually grab a Fatburger and watch the dancing waters of the Bellagio hotel until time to rejoin my group. One day, about 15 years ago, I wandered into this non-descript candy shop in The Stratosphere and discovered this popcorn. It was a caramel corn with a white chocolate drizzle. I bought a small amount, not knowing what it would taste like. I don’t remember much after that as I was transformed to popcorn heaven while sitting in one of the sports bars watching March Madness. (Spring break is huge for tours, or was). I had to recreate this manna from heaven and did the minute I got home. It’s so good, words don’t really do it justice, You must try, it’s so simple. You won’t regret it.
Adapted from Carol’s Caramel Corn recipe from kingarthurflour.com
15 cups popped corn (1/2 cup kernels, unpopped)
2 Tablespoons (39g) molasses
1 cup (213g) brown sugar, packed
8 Tablespoons (113g) salted butter, cold
1/4 cup (78g) light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips (dark or milk chocolate works too)
1 or 2 tsp coconut oil
Preheat your over to 200F (94C) spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray, or line 2 large rimmed baking sheets (18×13) with parchment. Pour the popped corn into a large bowl (at least 6 quarts), remove any unpopped kernels. Set aside.
In a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the molasses, brown sugar, butter and corn syrup, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Boil the syrup, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until it reaches 250 to 255 on a candy or digital thermometer. The syrup will darken slightly.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla and the baking soda, stir well (the mixture will foam)
Immediately and carefully pour the hot syrup over the popped corn and stir until the corn is well coated. Don’t panic if you can’t cover all the popcorn. It will evenly distribute over the cooking process.
Spread the hot caramel on the sheet pans or roasting pan. Bake at 200F (94C) for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. (use oven mitts to remove and replace)
Remove from the oven and spread on a sheet pan to cool.
Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl on medium strength until melted adding coconut oil to prevent from seizing. Microwave first for 30 seconds. Remove and stir and microwave 15 seconds at a time until fully melted. Do not overcook chocolate.
Add chocolate to a piping bag or ziploc bag and cut small corner to distribute chocolate drizzle all over the popcorn. Let dry for at least an hour or refrigerate to let the chocolate harden. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. (makes 4 servings)
(click to enlarge, printable)
All’s I can say is, this year has sucked for college kids. Why else do you go away to school? To get away from the rents (parents, duh), to hook up with random people (where do you think ‘walk of shame’ came from?), and to miss class because you’re hungover and want to see how your school does in March Madness? These poor college students have been robbed of a year’s worth of hedonism, leaving them nowhere to put their narcissism except social media. My heart really does bleed for them. The NCAA tournaments return with full force thursday for the next 3 weeks. They’ve created bubbles for the athletes to protect them as much as possible. I will be eating bomb caramel corn and enjoying the spirit of competition and the agony of defeat.