Another one of Grandma Maude’s incredible recipes: perfect for gift giving!
Mom and I decided to make 8. Three for her, three for me, one for my sister and one for my daughter that lives here. We made them all in two hours: kitchen was cleaned, too.
It was all in the planning. And, possibly, the experience. We have been doing this for at least twenty five years.
Toast the nuts; cut the jujubes.
Pop the popcorn. Do all of that the day before you want to make the poppycock. Then, it is a very easy process.
Would you believe that one year, a girlfriend and I made 50 batches? Twenty five each. We still laugh about it. Everyone we knew got a batch. That was the whole point… and we did make all of them in one day, too! Crazy! What were we thinking. We still do not know!
Sprinkle the jujubes on top of the popcorn.
Get the ingredients for the sauce measured out into bowls: one for each batch. No one ever makes just one batch!
Now you should be ready. Get out your heavy pots and your candy thermometers. Even though mine are calibrated, I always use two per pot, and usually have the ice cubes standing by for a soft ball testing, too. I like to depend upon the technology, but still continue to test the consistency on the ice as I find that the thermometers are not as consistent as I would like them to be.
One batch is heated in the microwave for easier release from the bowl, then scooped into the pot.
I usually do two at once. I have one a little ahead of the other, and if you have someone helping, they can wash that pot while you do the second one and keep the process moving.
Once the desired temperature is reached, turn off the heat! Remove the pot from the heat and add the nuts, soda and vanilla immediately: stir rigorously to combine.
Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn quickly, hand off the pot to your partner to wash and refill. Stir in the caramel to completely cover all of the popped corn.
Transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet and leave to cool; I set mine outside in the cold air for a short while.
When I am finished all of them, I parcel them up for gift giving and wrap up the ones for home in plastic bags, tightly closed. This freezes well.
But, it does not last long at our house, and there is a long list of my friends who love to get this in their stocking from me, every year!
What traditions and treats do you share with your friends? This is a great place to start! Nothing compares to homemade and it’s even better when there is a story behind it!
Valerie’s Poppycock (Caramel Corn) Recipe
Prepare the following ingredients in advance:
- Pop 11 cups of popcorn ( 1/2cup of kernels popped in oil makes about 11 cups of popped corn)
- 1 cup of salted mixed nuts, toasted
- 1/2cup of red and green jujubes, cut up (optional)
- a buttered mixing bowl (place popped corn topped withÂ jujubes in here)
- a cookie sheet, buttered, or layered with parchment paper
- 2 candy thermometers
Place all of the following ingredients into a heavy pot, or into a bowl if making several batches:
- 1 1/3Â c brown sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2c corn syrup
- 1/2t cream of tartar
Have these ingredients ready to add to the caramel immediately upon temperature:
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup of nuts (the same cup toasted from the above ingredient list)
- Toast all nuts, pop corn, cut up jujubes
- Place 11 cups of popped corn (or 1/2 cup unpopped corn, popped) into a large buttered bowl
- Sprinkle the cut up red and green jujubes over the popcorn
- Place middle 4 ingredients into a heavy pan, insert candy thermometers, and bring to a boil on medium heat
- Get the cup of toasted nuts ready to pour into the caramel once it reaches temperature; pour 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda into the nuts; have the vanilla ready
- Watch your thermometer and use ice cubes for testing, too: you want the caramel a little past soft ball stage (watch this carefully, as it takes quite a while to approach this temp, and then it is suddenly thereÂ – if let go higher, it makes a veryÂ brittle product)
- Once it reaches 250Â°F on the candy thermometer, turn off heat and remove from stove top immediately and add the nuts with the soda and vanilla
- Stir to combine vigorously and quickly pour over popcorn and jujubes
- Using a wooden spoon, stir caramel into the corn gently, but firmly: you do not want to crush the corn, but you do want to distribute the hot caramel over every piece of popped corn
- Spread poppycock on parchment covered cookie sheet, and flatten in small clusters
- Cool, the pack in airtight containers to store (also freezes well)
My grandmother used to butter an angel food cake pan generously, and pour hot coated corn directly into the pan (pressing gently to push out holes). Then she would wrap these “œcakes” and gift them to all of her friends. We would heat them in the microwave to break themÂ apart, but I am not sure how they ate them before the microwave was invented. We do them this way, now, as over the years, that is what she came to do herself. Big ice cream pails of this gooey treat would arrive with Grandma Maude every Christmas eve and be an intregal part of our Christmas morning munch.
Wow Valerie! The more holiday posts and traditions I read and learn about from your blog, the more envious I am of your daughters. Your family Chistmas parties must have been a blast with all these wonderful treats and goodies made by your Grandma Maude, your Mom, and yourself. My family never celebrated Chistmas like this. The most we did was have a Christmas dinner. We never hung stockings, made cookies or treats, put up a Christmas tree, etc. That’s why it’s important for me to do and learn holiday traditions so I can do them with my kiddies. I don’t want them to feel left out. This is such a great recipe that kids and adults can both enjoy. I love the addition of the jujubes, helps add great colours. Grandma Maude’s angel food popcorn cakes are such great gift ideas. I can tell your grandma was an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing her wonderful recipes with us. What a treat they are!
Val you are really a teacher! Your planning is impeccable – and so is this recipe!
Oooooh! My aunt makes poppycock every year and I always eat about a pound! Yum!
Heavenly Housewife says
Oh, I love Beavie :D! He is so cute.
The poppycock looks so cool, way better than the stuff you buy in the shops!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend daaaaahling.
kristin @ delishliving says
Oh Val, all I can say is this.is.awesome!!! I can’t believe you and a gf made 50 batches one year! Love it! Thanks for another great holiday idea.
This is truly what the holidays are all about! Making food with those you love, enjoying it and then giving it away! I loved seeing all of those bowls of goodies going into delicious batches of popcorn. I wish I had a bag myself! Thank you so much for sharing with me today. I hope you have a lovely weekend.
Cool! This sounds like the perfect snack to munch, surrounded by loved ones!
The recipe I use is identical except for the cream of tartar and the Jujubes (of course). What a cute idea to add holiday color to caramel corn!
Really, Susan? That is amazing as my Grandma started making this (without the jujubes) in the 1940’s (apparently)… so that is an uncanny coincidence that your recipe is the same. I know my grandma was an avid popcorn ball maker. Sometimes, I would stay at the farm with her, and late at night (when I would never be given anything to eat at all after dinner time at my own house!!) she would say, “Want to make popcorn balls?” DO I??? And then I would wonder if she was a bit crazy. Doesn’t she know kids aren’t supposed to do these kinds of things at this time of night? I loved her! Her recipe evolved through her popcorn ball making recipes… she used to use white sugar for many years, and it was me who changed it to brown sugar as a young mom. She loved it with brown, too – so started making both. There were always two camps in the family: the white poppycock camp and the caramel poppycock camp. Both are really good. I was definitely in the caramel camp. I mean… the white tasted like popcorn balls!
So, great minds often think alike. I discovered that when my daughter called broccoli a tree and I thought she was incredibly brilliant until I learned that’s what all children do. (Not sure all children poured their ice cubes on a tray to “dry them out”…) But, it is very cool that you have a similar recipe in your family. There is NOTHING like homemade… especially if there is a story accompanying the food!
Oh my goodness Val! I wish I could come over – I love how your home is buzzing with Christmas activity and this is so very cool! I MUST make some of this popcorn for the kids soon – as soon as I get through my baking list. Unlike you, I have not even started. HELP!! 🙂
Hugs, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
I had never been exposed to this until I married into Pam’s family. I still don’t get it! She loves it. Me, not so much. But I’d hang with Beavie and eat ju-jubes anytime.
Mmmmm looks so tasty AND festive! I love a good caramel corn.
How fun! This is how the house needs to smell at Christmas time! Lots of laughter and making this a family activity is my idea of happiness on earth.
Wishing you and your family and wonderful holiday season/ Joumana
Up until a few years ago we had our powerful tringle (‘Nonna’, Mommy and me) behind our delicious and attractive Christmas time traditions. Since ‘Nonna’ is no longer with us…Mommy and I work very happily towards keeping the family tight and busy developing new treats and maintaining the older cherished recipes as well.
Your poppycock delight will be a treat I would need to introduce…and surely my Mom would not hesitate for a minute. We both are gaga for caramel popcorn ;o)
Valerie, thanks for sharing a beautiful part of your life with us…it’s very endearing 🙂
Ciao for now and happy holiday baking ahead,
Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe. My grandma used to make poppy – cock but I never had any of the family recipes. This one is even better with the Christmas candy.
Let me know how it goes for you! the jujubes do make it festive, and are tasty in it, too!
Jay Humber says
My poppy cockl was great right after I placed it on parchment to cool but within a few hours the syrup became sugary texture.Why would this happen?
Valerie Lugonja says
Here is an explanation for you, Jay!
The sugar crystallized! This does not make for a nice caramel sauce and has also happened to me… from “When sugar is added to water, the sugar crystals dissolve into a sugar syrup. When this syrup is heated, the water starts to evaporate and the syrup becomes more concentrated to the point of supersaturation. Supersaturation is very unstable, and very little provocation, a little bump or stir, can cause the sugar to recrystallize, and sadly, ruin your caramel sauce.
So, to prevent this crystallization, here are some tips:
~ Always use a clean saucepan as sugar granules in the syrup will attach to any debris (including dust) and start to crystallize.
~ Combine the water and sugar off the heat and stir only until the sugar is mixed with the water to a wet sand consistency (by the way, water is not required for caramelizing sugar, but it helps to ensure even melting and cooking).
~ Do not stir the sugar syrup once it starts boiling, because this can cause hot sugar syrup to crystallize when it hits the cool sides of the pan.
~ While the syrup is boiling, you can wipe down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to wash down any sugar that has stuck to the sides of the pan.
~ Impurities in the sugar can make it more prone to developing into crystals during boiling. I had to re-do the sugar 3 times, the last time with sugar from a different container, before it would caramelize successfully.
~ Add a little lemon juice or cream of tartar to interfere with crystallization by changing sugar (aka sucrose) into it’s components, glucose and fructose, which are less likely to crystallize. Adding a little corn syrup (which is mostly glucose) will also have the same effect.
Sure hope this helps and that you DO give it another go! So sad as this is such a delicious recipe!