Sunday, October 23, 2011

Second-Annual Pumpkin Carving

Last night was the second-annual pumpkin carving at our house. We had a couple of friends over, carved our Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns, and of course talked and ate way too much food. We also opened the first bottles of hard cider (the regular cider and the maple cider that we bottled in early October) to good reviews. I was glad to see that it was palatable and our hard work was not put to waste! (The picture on the left was my husband's work. I wish I could claim that level of skill!)

Anyway, we had a couple of cancellations at the last minute because of the autumn cold that was going around, so here was what we decided on for a menu. First, for drinks, we had apple cider - hard apple cider from our earlier bottling, and "soft" apple cider, heated on the stove top with cinnamon sticks.

I also made pepperoni pizza puffs (always a favorite), a modified stuffed mushrooms recipe (my husband's not a fan of too much spice, so I substitute the cayenne for seasoned salt and add just a teeny tiny dash of crushed red pepper flakes - one shake - so they're not too spicy), and then made holy-foodgasm caramel corn. No lie, this stuff is like crack.

Here's the recipe:
  • 1 stick butter (unsalted)
  • 2 cups golden/light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • big bowl plain popped popcorn
  1. Preheat oven to 250F. 
  2. Pop the popcorn over the stove in a bit of canola oil. Place the popcorn in a large baking dish (a disposable turkey pan is best) and keep it warm in the oven until you're ready for it. 
  3. Melt the butter on the stovetop over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it comes to a boil, let it boil for 4 minutes without touching it. 
  4. Take off the heat and add the baking soda and vanilla. It'll turn a really cool light color and thicken up immediately - that's normal. 
  5. Pour over the popcorn and stir so all the popcorn is coated. 
  6. Bake for 45 min, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool, break apart and serve. Pairs insanely well with (non-alcoholic) warm cider and cinnamon.

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