This is that odd time of year when no one seems to know what to do with themselves until New Year’s Eve. I admit, I’m guilty of being in a post-holiday pre-new year fog myself. For some reason, I don’t mind leaving the tree up for a little while and enjoying the lights on the house for a little while longer but the rest of the holiday decorations are taken down in a hurry. I don’t leave out the red and green candles, or the holiday dish towels, and my grandmother’s Christmas dishes although beautiful, return to the basement almost immediately. After cooking for dinner with friends, Yule dinner, baking for Christmas, cooking for Christmas morning and making Christmas dinner I’ve had enough of the kitchen for a while. Yet, I want to play with the new pressure canner Santa left for me under the tree and make a nice stew in my new enameled cast iron Dutch oven. As you can see, the post-holiday fog never lasts long for me.
I say all of this because I understand if the last thing you want to see is red or green food, or anything great for holiday treat gift-giving. I completely understand if you have no interest because the easy candied popcorn I’m sharing today was made for a holiday movie watching session with M and O. If you’re still interested, I will warn you that this popcorn goes fast. It’s definitely a sweet treat, and it is a little sticky but it’s worth getting past that. I’m sure it’s obvious, but you’re not obligated to make this in red and green. If you can find gelatin in whatever color you desire, it will work fine for this. Need orange popcorn, or purple, or blue for a party? This is an easy way to make that happen. Butter the foil on the pans well to avoid sticking. Now, I’m not going to lie to you- this stuff is going to stick to the pans a little even if you use a dump truck full of butter to butter the pans. As it bakes in the oven and you turn it every five minutes or so, it sticks less as the condensed milk sets. I used air-popped popcorn for this, but you could use the stuff you microwave if you like. Whatever kind of popcorn you use, be sure to remove any un-popped kernels before you toss the popcorn with the coating. M and O devoured this and that was after eating a huge lunch. I strongly advise making one color at a time, managing two pans of this at a time almost caused me to burn one batch entirely.
Easy Candied Popcorn
- 12 cups popped popcorn
- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 oz. package any flavor gelatin (I used cherry and lime Jello to make the red and green)
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a large shallow pan with heavy aluminum foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan.
Butter the aluminum foil and spread the popped popcorn onto the pan. Keep the popcorn warm in the oven while you prepare the candy coating.
Combine the sweetened condensed milk and gelatin in a medium saucepan.
Heat and stir over low heat until the mixture thickens slightly and is bubbly, 4-5 minutes.
Pour the milk mixture over the popcorn and stir the popcorn gently to coat it with the mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes, turning the popcorn with a long-handled wooden spoon every 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and turn out the popcorn onto a large piece of heavily buttered aluminum foil.
Allow popcorn to cool before breaking it into clusters or pieces.
Makes 12 cups.