Just about the time The Beloved starts rubbing his hands together in anticipation of making his fruitcake, I begin dreaming of ghouls and goblins. Not in a Wake Up Screaming sort of way, but in a How Can I Scare the Children kind of way. I started talking to The Hansens, our Most Excellent Neighbors, and found out that they were all into The Scare as well. We decided to do a Haunted Path leading from our house to theirs. And then, we contacted our other Most Excellent Neighbors, The Walls, to see if they wanted In on the path idea. Much to our delight, they were All Over It. Thomas was all, “I’ll hide in the blackberry bushes with a fog machine and jump out and scare kids.” Very, Very Cool.
As you know, I am a Rotten Photojournalist, so I didn’t get pictures of the Walls and Hansens stops on the Haunted Path, but let me paint a picture for you. The Hansens had tombstones, black lights, a scary light-up tree and a crazy mister skull (not Mr. Skull, but a skull that spews out mist) with blood and a spider crawling out of one eye. Hooray. The Walls had Real Animal Skulls hanging from their weeping willow tree, a graveyard with plastic skeletal arms coming up out of the ground, a strobe light that made thunder sounds and an Enormous Spider on their porch.
The Beloved and I decided to decorate the Entire Wrap-Around Porch and send kids all around the porch and down the side steps. If they were Brave Enough. Here is Photo documentation of said decorated porch. All the gray tattery stuff is dyed cheese cloth, cut/shredded so as to add to the Eeriness.
Okay, so that’s all the decorations in the calm light of day. Now, here’s what the front looked like at night, with the strobe light and the fog machine going.
And where, you ask, is the Madam of Ceremonies? Here:
Okay, so if you’ve suffered down to the end of my Obsessive Halloween Decoration Extravaganza, you deserve something for all your trouble. I posted this Ages Ago, but here it is again. A perfect adult snack for Halloween. Or whenever.
Spiced Caramel Corn
First, you need Some Sort of Spiced Nuts. Pumpkin seeds are Festive and Seasonal. Or get some of those pepitas, Mexican pumpkin seeds. Mix up some egg white, salt, cumin, chili powder, orange zest and brown sugar. Lightly coat the nuts/pumpkin seeds with the mixture, spread out on Silpat and bake at 250F until dry and golden. Let cool, and break apart any big chunks. Or not.
Sorry, but you’re on your own as far as measurements. The recipe for the caramel corn makes a Ton, so you might want to shoot for 4 cups of nuts and 2 egg whites as the base for the spice mix.
Now, for the Corn
- 3 1/2 cups popcorn, popped. This makes a ton. Seriously. Like 3-4 GALLONS. That’s about 12-16 LITRES for you Metric Folk. Half the recipe if you aren’t that hungry, or if you don’t want to share. If you can find “mushroom popcorn,” use that. If not, don’t worry about it.
- 4-ish cups spiced nuts
- 1 1/4 c. corn syrup
- 20 oz. butter (5 sticks)
- 30.5 oz. brown sugar
- 3 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt. Yes, tablespoons. You can cut back a bit, if you want, but salty is Good for this
- 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
Put the popcorn in two Very Large roasting pans that you have coated Liberally with pan spray. Add half of the nuts to each pan.
Melt everything but the baking soda together in a Very Large Pot. Once the butter is melted, turn up the heat and bring to a gentle boil for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, kill the heat and stir in the baking soda. It will seriously bubble up and look just like caramel shaving cream.
Pour half of the shaving cream over each vat of popcorn. Stir it in as well as you can. Bake at 225F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Every fifteen minutes or so, open the oven and stir. Each time, the popcorn will get more evenly coated, so don’t stress if there is some Naked Corn in the pans when you first put them in the oven.
After the Requisite Time, take the pan out of the oven and stir again. Stir it every few minutes to keep it from clumping up into a large Brick O’ Popcorn.
And now you’re done. What are you waiting for? Eat some. Mangia, mangia! Oh, sorry, that’s the Dead Italian Grandmother coming out.
So, how was your Halloween? If you didn’t make anyone cry, you’ll just have to try harder next year.
PS Whether or not you know who Clark Griswold is, you deserve to see his Handiwork:[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qc_RYm0ylA&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b]