Thursday, 26 May 2016

Caramel popcorn with chocolate and cranberries

Sylvia's school is brilliant at helping the kids with Mother's Day presents.  This year I helped for a bit with the stall for the kids to buy lots of beautiful and reasonably priced (nothing over $5) crafted presents. Kudos to all the mums who make wonderful gifts.  Some of the ideas are briliantly simple.  Such as the popcorn kernels and instructions for a movie night.  Instead of movie night we had a Eurovision night with some caramel popcorn covered with chocolate and mixed with cranberries.

Back to the Mothers Day gifts.  As well as popcorn I received a handerkerchief, a change purse and a beaded bracelet.  Sylvia also made a card in class with a message in code in it.  She had made up the code and included it in the card so I could break it.  Such a fun idea!

And to continue the fun, I have some random moments to share:

A few weeks back we went to see a circus performance because one of Sylvia's friends was in it.  As you can see from the above photo, the performers were talented and amazing to watch.  However perhaps the most entertaining moment was driving into the carpark when Sylvia looked at the disabled parking spots and asked about the "parking for the endangered".

I haven't been giving much attention to blogging this week thanks to an enthralling book a friend lent me.  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty had me racing to find out not the murderer but the murdered.  It was a fun and intelligent read about school yard politics, friendships, relationships and parenting that centred around three mothers' experience of their kids starting school.

We recently had a hard rubbish collection.  I put out an old beach umbrella that we used in the backyard years ago and then stored in the shed until the moths attacked it.  When we were clearing it out on a warm Autumn day, Sylvia and a friend claimed the umbrella and put it over some kitchen chairs in the front yard to make a roof for their house.  Then they sat there reading a cookbook together! Later I put the umbrella back into the hard rubbish to make sure it didn't hang around for another year.  It was huge!

It is National Sorry Day today.  A day to remember the Stolen Generations of children that were taken from their Aboriginal families and denied their culture as they grew up in white families.  The policy of forced removal has done great damage to our nation's Indigenous culture and we have much to be sorry for.  It is not enough to be sorry.  Hence the forthcoming week is Reconciliation Week to celebrate Aboriginal culture.  I recommend to you an ABC article by Bruce Pascoe about teaching Australian Indigenous languages.  He suggesting that school children learn about local Indigenous cultures by identifying and discussing Indigenous place names. (Disclaimer: I was asked for permission to use one of my blog photos on the page but I was not required to talk up the article.)

This was the first year that Sylvia watched Eurovision song content.  She and E lapped it up over the weekend, watching both the semi finals and the grand final.  I dipped in and out.  While the final was on, I spent more time in the kitchen making this popcorn.  I found a maple syrup caramel recipe for popcorn that I then smothered in chocolate and cranberries.

I halved the recipe and thought the caramel perhaps needed a little less time when in smaller quantities.  I also learnt the hard way that the roasting pan should be covered in baking paper and that the chocolate is better the next day when properly set.  It tastes better and keeps a small child far cleaner than when the chocolate is warm and melty.

I think the caramel sauce by itself would be great on the popcorn but the chocolate takes it up to another level that is fitting for Eurovision's over-the-top glitz and glamour.  All it needed was a bit of gold salt or sugar sprinkled over it.  I must remember that next year!

More caramel recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Caramel apple trifle
Caramel cake  
Caramel chocolate cheesecakes 
Caramel chocolate chunk muffins (v)
Caramel popcorn (healthier) (gf, v)
Caramel popcorn (salted) (gf, v)
Chocolate caramel slice

Chocolate caramel popcorn
Partly adapted from Food Blogga

1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1/4 tsp salt (or more?)
1/4 tsp mixed spice (or more?)
1/4-1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup cranberries

Cook popcorn.  (I do this in a paper bag - twisted at the top - in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until the popcorn is not popping so frequently.)  Make sure you sort out any unpopped kernels.  Place in a large roasting dish lined with baking paper.

Make caramel by placing maple syrup, sugar, butter and salt in a small saucepan.  Melt and bring to the boil.  Boil for 1 minute.  Add spice and simmer for about 2 minutes.  Cool for 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour caramel sauce into the popcorn and mix well with a spoon.  (Do not touch with fingers as it will burn.)  Bake for 10 minutes at 170 C.

One out of the oven, stir through the chocolate and cranberries.  Cool completely, preferably overnight.  Can be kept in an airtight container for at least a few days

On the Stereo: 
OP8: featuring Lisa Germano: Slush


  1. Parking for the endangered - love it :-) That circus performance looks very impressive and your mother's day gifts equally so. The popcorn sounds delicious.

    1. Thanks Kari - I had a good laugh at parking for the endangered!!!! And it is ages since I saw a circus performance so it was interesting to see how things change

  2. What a fun post, Johanna, a little of this, a bit of that and a yummy snack to round it all off. Thanks for sharing, Johanna...

    1. Thanks Louise - yes you get to share the fun bits of my life - I leave the boring stuff out :-)

    2. I can't imagine there is ever a boring time at your place, Johanna...You may be the busiest blogger I know, lol...

  3. The popcorn looks devine. You received some lovely Mothers Day presents. I always loved those stalls at school.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - we never had these sort of stalls when I was at school but I think we made presents

  4. Happy Belated Mother's Day. Sylvia did well with her gifts. I really like the idea of the code that you had to break - so cute.
    Oooh that book sounds good! I think I've had it on my "to-read" list for awhile. I should pick it up for my next holiday. I think books are a very good excuse to push blogging aside haha ;)
    I'm such a sucker for popcorn, I will try your recipe - it sounds delicious and much more interesting than my standard coconut oil & sea salt.


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