Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Treats

I love Halloween, it's my favorite holiday!  In past years I've carved dozens of pumpkins, bought pounds and pounds of candy and when my nieces and nephews were small I would host a buffet of gory treats for a family dinner before the Moms and Dads took their princesses, ghost busters, clowns and witches door to door.

My table has seen hot dog worms, eyeball deviled eggs, mashed potato ghosts and even personal chicken pot pies baked in small sugar pumpkins.  Desserts could be tombstone brownies, worms in dirt and Halloween shaped cut out cookies.  Every year I try and make a special treat to hand out to the special little people we are blessed to have in our lives.  This year I made Amish Caramel Corn and bagged them up into individual portions and added little Halloween themed bag toppers that I made using scrapbook paper and stickers.  So fun!

Amish Caramel Corn

6-7 quarts (24-28 cups) of freshly popped  popcorn
2 cups dry roasted peanuts
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt if desired
1 cup margarine or butter (2 cubes)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 250 degrees.  Place the popcorn in 2 shallow greased baking pans, disposable roasting pans, or a large roasting pan.  Add the peanuts to the popped corn. Set aside.  Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter or margarine, cream of tartar if used and salt in saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to blend.  Bring the mixture boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat. Stir in the baking soda and vanilla - beat vigorously. The mixture will become light and foamy.  Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pan and stir to coat. It is okay if not all pieces are coated at this point. Bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. Line your work surface with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces.  Cool completely and then store in an airtight container.


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