Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tasty Failure

For the next few months I will be republishing some of our kitchen posts. This post was originally posted Oct 2012. 

Yesterday I set out to make my husband a treat for his upcoming birthday on Monday. I made caramel popcorn a few weeks back and he requested that I make it again. We just so happened to have movie day with the daycare kiddos and I "accidentally" made too much popcorn so I would "have to" make caramel popcorn.

Here is the problem. Did you know that one stick of butter is equal to 1/2 cup not 1/4? Well, I momentarily forgot that fact and instead of putting in 1/2 cup of butter I put in 1 cup. Then, still not realizing my mistake I decided to increase the amount of caramel by 1/2 and so added what I thought was 1/4 cup of butter--another whole stick. As the third stick is melting in the pot and I am adding in the karo syrup I realized my mistake--I put in to much butter.

By now though I'm flustered and not thinking clearly. I run through my head, is 3 sticks 4 times the recipe or 3? How much should I increase the other ingredients? 3 times? 4? Oh no, I will need more popcorn! I dump in what I hope is enough sugar and karo as I simultaneously air pop more popcorn. Did you know that when you air pop popcorn that there is a cover to put on? What didn't pop out of the popper burnt just a bit, but I managed to not totally destroy it.

The caramel on the stove is looking rather thick and bubbly. More so than usual and I wonder if I am cooking it too long. I measured out quadruple the amount of baking soda and vanilla to be on the safe side as I am still not certain how many times extra I am making the caramel and hope for the best.

The popcorn manages to make it safely into the oven with way too much caramel over the top and I start the clean up. As I am cleaning up I do the math and realize that I tripled the recipe and that there is way too much sugar, caramel, vanilla, and baking soda in the mix versus the amount of butter. But, I reason, you can't have too much of a good thing and sugar in caramel is a good thing--right?

The first time out of the oven the caramel is super soupy as I mix the popcorn around. The second time out of the oven the baking soda is making the caramel very foamy, and the third time the caramel has foamed up and over most of the popcorn.

I taste the goo and though it doesn't look right, it sure does taste yummy! I decide not to worry.

I spread it out over the wax paper on the counter and allow it to cool.

When I come back to taste it, it is like caramel candy with popcorn in it. I have failed at making caramel popcorn, but succeeded in making something yummy! I put most of it in a gallon sized ziploc bag, pu the bag of corn in a decorated a paper bag with the words "Happy Birthday", and gave it to him anyway.

Long story short: I made a mess of caramel popcorn for my hubby, but he loved it anyway!

If you would like to try and make it the right way, here is our recipe (remember 1 stick of butter equals 1/2 cup)

Caramel Popcorn


  • 8-10 cups popped corn
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. Butter 9x13 pan and fill with popped corn
  2. In sauce pan melt butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to boil. Boil 5 mins (lower heat but continue to boil)
  3. Remove from heat and add salt, soda, and vanilla
  4. Pour caramel over corn and mix thoroughly
  5. Bake @ 250 for 45min, stirring every 15mins
  6. Pour onto wax paper, spread out to cool

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