Popcorn Palooza

School Teachers, Pastors, Nursery Workers, Music Teachers, Coaches, Mailmen, Hairdressers, Babysitters, and Bus Drivers…the list could go on and on. They are the people who bless you all year long, and you’d like to find a way to bless them this Christmas season.

You wonder to yourself, “What can I give them that will show them they are appreciated without spending too much money and breaking the budget?”

Wouldn’t it be even better if the answer to this question would provide you with a night of family fun as you make the gifts together? (Because I don’t know about you, but I’m a big believer that the best part of Christmas is all of the fun that comes preparing for the big day---baking, decorating, and making gifts. Our family always made more memories between Thanksgiving and Christmas than we did on the big day!)

Well, the answer to these questions could be as close as your kitchen pantry, and as easy as popping some popcorn.

Yes, I said Popcorn. At less than $5 for 32 cups of popcorn, you could make oodles and oodles of tasty flavored treats in your kitchen, put them in a pretty box, mason jar, or Christmas tin and pass them along as very thoughtful and delicious Christmas treats. Best of all, your family could have fun doing this project together and your kids would feel like they played a role in the gift they are giving to the people in their lives.

Personally, I was introduced to the idea of flavored popcorn as a Christmas treat when one of the Moms from the Girl’s Ministry Class that I taught at my church gave me a box of her Caramel Coated Popcorn last year. (Christmas is a great time to be a teacher---lots of yummy gifts!) Without question, I can say that this gift was one of the best things gifts I received that year---absolutely delicious!

This year, I’ve asked my friend if she’d be willing to pass her recipe onto all of you so that you so that your family can not only enjoy making your own Christmas gifts, but you can also give this gift to the special people in your life. If you’re ready, we’ve got:

Jen’s Baked Caramel Popcorn

Ingredients:

24 cups popped pop corn (Jen uses an air popper to pop hers so there is no extra fat)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup light or dark corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Coat the bottom and sides of a large roasting pan with a nonstick vegetable spray.

  • Place popped pop corn in roasting pan.

  • In a heavy pan, slowly melt butter; stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.

  • Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla.

  • Gradually pour over pop corn, mixing well.

  • Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

After you remove it from the oven, you should allow it to cool.

Then just put it in a pretty Christmas box, plastic container or Christmas tin and you’ve got a great personalized Christmas gift.

This recipe makes 6 quarts, so it will go a long way. Like I said, it was one of the best things I tasted last Christmas season. It was an absolutely awesome gift!

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