Instead of baking cookies for everyone this year, I have decided to make chocolate drizzled toffee popcorn. I am getting ready to make a batch for the friends I am going to see tomorrow. I don’t have nuts on hand, so this will just be toffee popcorn, but you can add up to 2 cups of your choice of nuts. Peanuts are a huge hit in our house, but my brother really likes when I use walnuts.
:: Toffee Popcorn
10 cups popped popcorn (12 cups if not using nuts)
1 cup pecan halves, toasted (optional)
1 cup whole unblanched almonds, toasted (optional)
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, combine popcorn and nuts.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, honey and cream of tartar; stir until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Cook, without stirring, over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 300°-310° (hard-crack stage).
Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda until mixture is light and foamy (be careful – when you add the vanilla it will spontaneously boil, so pour it in and step back to avoid the spatter). Immediately pour over popcorn mixture; toss gently using two buttered spatulas or wooden spoons. Spread into two baking pans lined with Silpats or buttered parchment. Press gently to flatten. Cool completely.
Drizzle with melted chocolate. Break into pieces.
Yield: about 2 quarts.
NOTE: There is a reason that sugar work is referred to as culinary Napalm. Be careful when cooking and working with your toffee. Keep a bowl of cold iced water near by at all times so if you get any of the toffee on you, you can instantly plunge your hand into the water.