Inside these wrappings

Sunday, December 13, 2015

"Aren't we enlarged
by the scale of what we're able
to desire? Everything,
the choir insists,

might flame;
inside these wrappings
burns another, brighter life,
quickened, now,

by song: hear how
it cascades, in overlapping,
lapidary waves of praise? Still time.
Still time to change."

- from "Messiah (Christmas Portions)," by Mark Doty

This poem was a perfect match for our church service this afternoon, which was a celebration of Christmas music. With organ, piano, trumpet, horn, trombone, flute, a bell choir and three vocal choirs, we sang anthems like "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," and heard performances of "Rise Up and Follow that Star" and "O Holy Night." It was inspiring and beautiful.

My only difficulty was finding a recipe that was sufficiently glorious to match the music and the poem. As always, I'm a few recipes ahead, but none of them seemed quite noble enough to merit comparison to Handel's Messiah.

So my answer was to post a recipe for ... popcorn?

Perhaps there are more than six degrees of separation between George Frederick Handel and Orville Redenbacher. But this is a terrific recipe, with sweet from the caramel, savoury from the peanuts and pretzels, and a dash of the unexpected from the cayenne pepper. It may not be messianic, but it's one crackerjack treat.

Spicy Maple Kettle Corn
(from In The Kitchen with Stefano Faita)


8 cups popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts (unsalted)
1 1/2 cups pretzels
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup butter (unsalted)
sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
cayenne, to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet or roasting pan with parchment paper.

Combine popcorn, peanuts and pretzels in large bowl and set aside.

Over medium heat, bring maple syrup and corn syrup to a boil and cook to soft ball stage (240 degrees). Add butter, salt and cayenne pepper.

Carefully pour the maple caramel mixture over popcorn and toss with wooden spoon or tongs to combine. Bake, turning every 8 to 10 minutes, until caramel hardens on popcorn, about 30 minutes.

Let cool completely. Store in airtight container.


Marcelle said...

Your church has such lovely Christmas decorations and that popcorn mix really sounds like a wonderful holiday treat! Yum

Natalie Aguirre said...

This sounds like a great treat and probably healthier than the mixes we could buy.

Unknown said...

Lovely decorations, this popcorn sounds like a great flavour combination.

Monica said...

Looks like a beautiful church service. And I'm enjoying the popcorn recipe. It is amazing to me how creative popcorn concoctions have become...and so delicious! It's a great snack to munch on. My son never says no to popcorn.

grace said...

i've never made this sort of thing as a gift for others or for my own munchies, but it sounds like it would be a great snack! if someone were to mail me some from, say, canada, i wouldn't turn it away. :)

Unknown said...

I love popcorn and this sounds like a awesome recipe.

Jemi Fraser said...

Unusual combination - but it works!
Haven't made this before - sounds tasty! :)

Julie said...

Beautiful! This popcorn sounds amazing too!! Happy Holidays!

Katerina said...

What a beautiful gift idea! Popcorn and especially so well made as this one is always a no fail treat!

nancy at good food matters said...

beautiful uplifting poem.
and I'm sure the popcorn is tasty---you'll never find a dish to match the glories of Handel's Messiah. It's better to serve a humble treat that most will enjoy.

DMS said...

Such beautiful words. Sounds like it was a lovely service and the food goes with the day perfectly. I want some! :)

Angie's Recipes said...

Though I am not a popcorn fan, this does look and sound quite tasty, Beth.
Have a great advent time!

Kitchen Riffs said...

OK, popcorn isn't the first thing I think of when it comes to glorious music, but who cares? It's such good stuff it belongs anywhere! Love the combo of spicy and sweet, so this is perfect for me. Thanks!

Claudia said...

Beth - you just made me laugh - popcorn and Handel? Who knew? But the popcorn has all the right nuances - just the same as when music hits you in all different directions!

Vicki Bensinger said...

Oh this sounds perfect for company during the holidays and for simply curling up around the fire and watching a good movie. Thanks for sharing this and have a wonderful holiday!

Vicki Bensinger said...

Oh this sounds perfect for company during the holidays and for simply curling up around the fire and watching a good movie. Thanks for sharing this and have a wonderful holiday!

Cakelaw said...

The flavours in this popcorn sound magnificent. And what a beautiful church.

handmade by amalia said...

What a wonderful post, Beth, I felt I was there with you.

Unknown said...

nice! I love the flavors in the popcorn! Sounds like a delicious treat!

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, what a beautiful church! And what a perfectly wonderful recipe for some lovely festive popcorn!
Hope you are having a wonderful Advent!

Tricia Buice said...

I love this popcorn recipe. It's been years since I made caramel corn - thanks for the lovely reminder. The church is beautiful. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

Sounds like a lovely service. And the popcorn is golden and white and would perfectly match my Christmas tree!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

We had a beautiful service on Christmas Eve, too---the music was incredible! It would have been lovely to come home to a big bowl of your delightful popcorn!! Merry Christmas!

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