A Walk Down Memory Lane and Mrs. Macklewayne’s Caramel Corn

3 Nov

I can remember the first time I had caramel corn like it was yesterday.  I was little, couldn’t have been more than 5 yrs old, and our neighbor Mrs. Macklewayne made some caramel corn and gave me a big container of it.  Mrs. Macklewayne was an older lady who was married to my Daddy’s FFA teacher, Mr. Macklewayne, and they lived a street or two over from us.  I can’t remember alot about them but what I do remember is that my Daddy thought very highly of Mr. and they were very sweet to me.  The most striking memory though is that Mrs. used to ride an adult tricycle through the neighborhood.  That thing had to be as big as a Buick and I’m not sure if she was onto the whole health craze of the early 80’s or what but she sure did ride that alot.  It fascinated me for some reason.  I kept thinking “Did her Daddy never teach her to ride a bike without training wheels?”  I thought she looked equally ridiculous and rebellious, and I always liked to watch her ride around. 

I can even remember the container that the caramel corn came in; it was a big plastic rectangle with a big opening, big enough to get great big handfuls of the corn out.  I think my Mom still has that container at her house, and she keeps loose change in it.  I can probably even tell you exactly where it is in her house.  Memories are funny things, aren’t they?  I can remember all that in great detail but can’t remember where I put my keys.  Hmm. . .

The deliciousness that I experienced from this sweet gift inspried me to make some homemade caramel corn this past weekend.  It was a bit messy, somewhat tedious, but so worth it!  I have no idea if this is how Mrs. Macklewayne made hers or not, but it sure tasted like it!

Note:  In the interest of full disclosure, the author feels that it should be noted here that this was also the phase of my life where I was anti-teeth brushing and, per my Mom, I would lie about brushing my teeth and every dentist appointment would result in at least two cavities.  At some point nearly all of my baby bicuspid teeth had fillings, and then when I got a chance for a fresh start in the way of my big girl teeth, what did I do?  Well it’s more like what DIDN’T I do, which is brush them and wound up with all my adult bicuspid’s having fillings too.  And now as an adult I”m having to pay to have them re-done becasue they are so old and cracking.  Brush your teeth kids!  Don’t be like me and have to get those beautifully painful white fillings put in.  They may be pretty but boy are they sensitive for months!

Caramel Corn

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 quarts popped popcorn
 Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
  3. Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

Baker’s Note:  In Step 2 I would try to boil this for 2-3 minutes; the caramel seemed to have an ever so slight burned sugar taste.  In Step 3 I only baked my mixture for 45 minutes.  You could bake less if you want your corn to be more gooey.  And over all, I used 3 bags of microwave popped popcorn, and tried to find one with the least amount of butter on it, so go for the fat free, low cal stuff here.

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