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Summer break is, unfortunately, coming to an end… not summer mind you, just the break. Here in Florida, I anticipate weeks more of summer weather, ugh. I spent my summer working at a week-long camp about an hour from my home. My job position has taken on many more hats which have come to include working in the kitchen. I enjoy this, as I grew around food and catering… but don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy. I worked my butt off. Each week we served about 12 meals to an average of 100+ people.

For fun, here’s the breakdown of the baked goods I prepared this summer: 925 Cinnamon Rolls, 1,049  Blueberry Muffins, 1,502  Carnival Cookies, 216 Banana Nut Muffins, 432 Double Chocolate Muffins, 320  Chocolate Chip Cookies and 60 Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies.

It truly has been an interesting summer! So, to commemorate the excitement (or lack thereof) of returning to school (and work), make some caramel popcorn, pop open a cold Coke (Zero) and stand in line for school supplies. So long Summer 2010!

Easy Microwave Caramel Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups popcorn, air popped or 1 microwave bag
  • 1/3 cup butter, unsalted
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Place popcorn in a large microwave-safe glass bowl, set aside.

In another glass bowl, microwave the butter until melted, about 45 seconds. Stir in brown sugar and corn syrup. Microwave on high until mixture boils, 1 to 3 minutes, stirring once, then on high for 3 minutes without stirring. Remove bowl and stir in soda and vanilla.

Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir until most of the popcorn is coated.  Microwave on 70% power for 1 minute. Remove and stir, then microwave at 70% for 1 more minute. Remove  and stir again to coat popcorn evenly. Pour popcorn onto wax paper and cool completely, about ten minutes. Break apart and serve, or store in an airtight container.

You can add nuts or candy coated chocolate if desired. Add nuts with the popcorn before coating with the caramel.

Note: Add-ins such as M&M’s or chocolate morsels can be added, however if “melt-able”, add at the very end, or risk a big blob!

 If you are using chocolate, add it just before pouring on cooling sheet…or you will have a big melted blob.

Enjoy! Makes about 10 servings, about 1 cup each.

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