My friend Cathy and I have been making caramel corn to give to friends and family at Christmas for years now. The recipe is delicious and it’s always a hit. Usually I package it up in a nice bowl with some cellophane, so that it makes a pretty gift. But Cathy, who has a great eye for style, has really taken it to another level. Have a look at the adorable popcorn packages she had lined up after an afternoon in the kitchen. Once she sourced her boxes and bags, it was really simple to make everything look great. She chose 3 different types of packaging: ivory corrugated grab bags with cello windows, clear candy bags in 2 sizes, and larger gable boxes. Her extra touches of pink and orange ribbon, silver jingle bell ornaments, and pearl ribbon adornments provide a beautiful finishing touch.
Lined up, these look like they came straight out of the window of a little gourmet sweet shop. The difference between just plunking the popcorn into a bowl from the dollar store and the gorgeous high end look that Cathy achieved is not really about much more time or money or effort, but mainly just about resourcefulness. Most of the packaging she uses is pretty low cost (the candy bags are less than 20 cents each!). The trick is to find a great supplier! They can even provide suggestions if you need some help. Low cost, high impact – what’s not to love? Insiders tip: in the Toronto area and online, check out Creative Bag for these supplies and more. They have been amplifying our packaging style for years!
Now, the only question is, how can we get on Cathy’s gift list?
Here’s the recipe for the Caramel Corn. I found it years ago, and can’t recall where, so if it’s yours, let us know so we can give you credit.
Old Fashioned Caramel Corn
14 cups popped corn (1 cup kernels)
1 cup butter
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
Place the popcorn in a large buttered bowl. Boil butter, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a medium pan while stirring. Once it begins to boil, stop stirring for about 5 minutes until the mixture reaches 225 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda (it will puff up). Pour over popcorn and stir with a buttered spoon. Place on 2 ungreased baking sheets, and bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool, break up into pieces and enjoy!
Note: I never stir the popcorn while baking and it works out fine.