Years ago, I participated in a charity bake sale. I made some simple cupcakes as this was before my love of food conquered my fear of baking. All of my cupcakes sold. I paid it forward by buying a couple of desserts from other co-workers, including a bag of caramel puffs for 50 cents.
I tossed them in my desk and forgot about them until I was hungry and bored later that afternoon. After taking a few sinful, caramelly bites, I darted out into the lobby to buy the remaining bags. Because they were that blissful combination of salty and sweet and rich without being too heavy. I ate them all week, rationing out the last bag by the puff because I loved them that much. They are the culinary equivalent to crack, and I was addicted. Unfortunately, I never got around to finding the recipe.
A few days ago, in the mall, I browsed through a clutch of tables set up by local business owners. I bought bag of cheese and caramel corn from a local baker when I saw those decadent caramel puffs mixed in. They were the same unforgettable taste that I had all four years before, and I had to re-create it.
The entire process is ridiculously easy, albeit a bit sticky. The only difficult part of it is trying to stop eating them.
Sinful Caramel Corn Puffs
2 sticks butter
2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
A splash of vanilla
1 package butter-flavored corn puffs
Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan over medium-hot heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil for five minutes, stirring constantly.
Stir in baking soda, salt and vanilla. Be careful as mixture with vigorously boil.
Pour the corn puffs into a large bowl. Pour the mixture over the corn puffs and stir until thoroughly coated. You may need to do this in batches.
Spoon puffs onto cookie sheets in a single layer.
Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour. Turn and stir every 15 minutes. The puffs will get easier to turn as it bakes.
Remove from oven, and slide parchment off cookie sheets and onto counter to cool.
To store, place in a sealed air tight container.
Note 1: At first, it is a bit difficult to stir puffs while it’s on parchment. In the end, it will be easier to transfer for cooling and clean-up.
Note 2: If you have multiple sheets, rotate oven positions half-way through baking.