Every Fall I look forward to the Fair. When I first moved to town and joined the Junior League of Fresno I would volunteer at the fair with Firefighters Creating Memories. The fire men would sponsor a family of a child with a disability. They would carry the child on the ride if he/she wasn't able to walk on and the women of the Junior League would help with the other children, carry bags, etc. It was always so special to see the Fair through the eyes of the children we were working with. We enjoyed tasting the new and unusual food options.
Last year, when the fair came to town, I made Funnel Cakes live on TV at 6am for my segment on ABC30. This time last year I was only a few weeks pregnant and oh so sick. I held a lavender sachet under my nose until the last second before going on air because the smell of the hot oil made my stomach turn. The photographer that filmed me that day, went back to the newsroom and commented about how must not fry in oil often because the smell looked as if it was bothering me… bahaha! Well, he learned a few weeks later, with a little morning sickness surprise landing in front of his shoes, that I was expecting my second child. I think from then on he secretly wished I would get sick on air so that he could really capture the story of the day. Lucky for me I never did but it was a challenge not to. I think in the video you can see my red, watery eyes. Something that I can now look back at and laugh.
This year I was inspired to make a ooey gooey caramel corn after my mom raved about delicious popcorn that she tried "that wasn't so hard it could break a tooth." I love making caramel. The first time I taught a class of Jr Chef students how to make it was 5 years ago. I burnt the caramel because I was so busy talking. The kids in that class will not let me live it down to this day. In all of my attempts and trials, I learned that sweetened condensed milk is the secret to keep it gooey which is the perfect consistency to cover the popcorn. This recipe is great because you do not have to stress about the different stages and temperatures that the caramel reaches. It is almost foolproof.
1/2-1 cup popcorn kernels popped
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pop kernels or make 2 bags popcorn. Pour into a lined baking dish making sure to remove un-popped kernels.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Once boiling lower to a simmer for 10 minutes until dark brown. Remove from heat and stir in sweetened condensed milk, salt, & vanilla.
Pour mixture over the popcorn and stir to combine. Serve warm