This weekend I was forced soooo far out of my comfort zone.
My friends persuaded me to go contra dancing. (Typically Ally and organized dance are two words that just don’t go together).
Touching random people, coordinating movements to music, gazing into a strangers eyes (there’s a lot of spinning) and getting all out of breath and sweaty in public when you’re not running. Pretty much every single thing that makes internal Ally scream… “Warning, beware of discomfort!”
As we were walking up to the dance hall my heart was racing. I was freaking out.
Two and a half hours later, I had a fantastic time. I think I’m finally realizing after 24 years… doing something a little (or extremely) uncomfortable is as Martha Stewart would say “a good thing”.
Is it time for you to do something different and uncomfortable, get out of your boring habits and routine? Let me be the first to encourage you!
And if you do, I’ll reward you with this caramel corn snack mix.
Take your basic caramel corn and add in some peanuts and pretzels … its right in my comfort zone, besides just being down right tasty.
Sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt, vanilla, and baking soda make the sweet crunchy caramel to go over the popcorn.
After it comes to a boil, let it work on its own for 5 minutes and it will begin to darken. The bubbling is so enticing yet so ridiculously hot, having a deeper sauce pot helps to prevent any potential splatter.
When the 5 minutes are up, add the baking soda and vanilla. It blooms, fluffs up and gets frothy. I’m sure there is a scientific explanation for why this happens but it tastes good so the science is essentially irrelevant.
My apologies, it all moves pretty quick so getting goods photos of the steps was a little difficult.
It seems a little chaotic, you pop the popcorn, put the popcorn in the oven to keep warm, start the caramel, the caramel finishes, the popcorn comes out of the oven, pour the caramel over the popcorn, stir/fold to combine and cover everything evenly, and finally put it all back in the oven to crisp it up (and take a breath).
But the chaos pays off…
30 minutes or so in the oven and gets golden and crunchy. Sometimes Instagram just makes things look soooo good.
Here’s how to do it:
Caramel Corn Snack Mix
Adapted from All Recipes.com
- 1 1/2 cups unpopped popcorn
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup butter
- 6 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups Dry-Roasted Lightly Salted Peanuts
- 2 cups Pretzel Sticks, broken in half
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the unpopped popcorn. Moving the pan periodically to pop the corn. Remove from heat, place in a large baking pan, and keep warm in the preheated oven. Discard unpopped kernels.
- While the popcorn is popping, measure out the peanuts and break the pretzel sticks in half. Add into the large baking pan with the popcorn before putting into the oven.
- Mix sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt into a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture starts to boil. Continue cooking for 5 minutes without stirring.
- Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour over the popped popcorn. Stir popcorn until evenly coated. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from pan and put into a large bowl to cool (or cupcake wrappers for easy individual servings).