Friday, May 6, 2011
Caramel Corn with Agave Nectar and So Much More
There is no such thing as a guilt-free food. Do not believe any recipe advertising itself as such.When I made this caramel corn, I was looking for a good snack food that I wouldn't feel bad about eating, something with a little protein, and not too much butter. But I realize now that it can never be considered "guilt-free" - I liked it so much that I've eaten half of the batch I made, all alone by myself. Portion size! What? So if you want to make this, don't just do it because it is indeed healthy. Do it because it tastes SO GOOD!
There are lots of things you could do with this caramel corn to make it your own. If you don't have agave nectar, you can use corn syrup. I like using agave nectar, a honey-like syrup that is made from cacti, because it's good for you, not very processed, and although it has a lower glycemic index, it's sweeter than sugar so you don't have to use as much. In fact, next time I make this recipe, I think I'll use 3/4 c. agave and leave out the regular sugar altogether. You can add in any nuts you want - I used almonds and hazelnuts - or try pepitas or sunflower seeds. Unsweetened shredded coconut would mix well too. Trust me on the ground flax though, and don't leave it out - it adds a nice nuttiness and richness as well as good fiber and healthy fats. Yaay! Healthy fats! Come and get it!
Carmel Corn With Agave
2/3 c. un-popped popcorn, divided
1/3-1/2 c. ground flax
1 - 2 c. nuts, chopped or whole
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. agave
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
Pre-heat your oven to 250 degree.
Pop the popcorn in two batches, and transfer it to a large greased baking dish - maybe a roasting pan - or separate into two large bowls. Don't crowd the popcorn, or it'll be hard to stir in all the caramel evenly.
Melt the butter and stir in the agave nectar, sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring this mix to a boil, making sure the sugar is melted in, and then remove from heat.
Stir the vanilla into the butter and sugar, then the baking soda. The caramel will froth and bubble up, so make sure you use a tall pan to keep it all contained. Nothing ruins caramel corn night like a stove-top covered in the sad, syrupy remains of your delicious snack!
Pour the caramel over the prepared popcorn, and stir, attempting to even coverage on all corn. Toss in the nuts and flax and continue to stir stir stir until you are happy with the effect you have achieved. Taste a piece - if it needs more salt, sprinkle some in, and stir again.
If your popcorn is in bowls, transfer it to greased cookie sheets. Slide the pan into your oven, and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
Forget about all the guilt/health stuff. Enjoy!