Sometimes a vintage book surprises you with a creative take on a classic snack recipe. I recently discovered a new favorite treat: orange cream popcorn, perfect for Super Bowl parties or movie night. This 1939 Sealtest Holiday cookbook recipe was written originally for popcorn balls; but, since those involve too many frenzied fingers with hot butter, I decided to adapt it to caramel corn.
This year the parade of holiday treats slowed down to a muted trickle, thanks to social distancing. We made only one batch of cookies, because we knew otherwise we would eat them ourselves. We did allow some snacks though. I made the traditional caramel popcorn, which I have adapted over the years. We needed something new to brighten up the Christmas spirit. So I searched for some vintage snack recipes to fill the void. Just a few pages down from gingerbread waffles in the cookbook was a new idea: orange cream popcorn balls.
I remember my mother making popcorn balls as a kid for Christmas parties. We loved eating them, especially when dyed holiday colors with sprinkles. But the other memory was of her yelling “Hot, hot, hot!” as she juggled a sticky, steaming ball of gooey popcorn between her hands. I knew I did not want to spend a weekend nursing third-degree burns while the rest of the family played Uno.
So, I adapted the orange cream popcorn ball recipe to make caramel corn instead.
Orange Cream Popcorn Recipe
The preparation was simple with only a few ingredients:
- Pop corn using your preferred method. Traditional stovetop kernel popping, microwave popcorn, or air-popped corn will work. Place popcorn in a rectangular disposable foil pan.
- Combine the first three ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on low, stirring constantly until sugar crystals disappear into syrup. Increase heat and cook to hard boil stage (290 F). Watch for bubbling around the edges. Be patient -it may take over 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan off the heat and add the butter and orange rind. Carefully pour the mixture in a drizzle over the popcorn.
- Place popcorn in a hot oven for 15 minutes, and then remove and mix again. Repeat the process twice, or until popcorn is evenly mixed. Turn corn with greased spatula or spoon until all pieces are coated. Add additional rind if desired.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 min.
My family was skeptical at first, but once they had it, they exclaimed “Awesome”, “Fantastic” and simply “Wow!”.
I definitely plan to make this party treat again. While you need to be patient to stir and cool, the result is worth it. A bright, fresh taste on traditional popcorn snacks that will keep you craving more.
Did you make this treat or want to share another snack recipe?
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