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Have you ever BOO’d someone? I learned about “booing” a few years ago from someone in our neighborhood, and it’s been something I’ve wanted to do since! I mean, I do leave little treats here and there for friends and neighbors, but this is so much more fun!
When you “boo” someone, you deliver a totally anonymous gift to their doorstep, desk, wherever, and all you ask in return is that they anonymously “boo” someone else. It’s just a fun random act of kindness to brighten someone’s day, and this is like a grown up version of trick or treat, with just treats, and no walking around in the dark and cold, which sounds GREAT to me.
You can make the gift as large or small as you’d like. I prefer to keep it simple and fun and work around a theme. This basket’s theme is “Movie Night” because I found the cutest popcorn cups at the Target dollar spot. In fact, the orange chevron basket, candy corn colored sprinkles on the pretzels, napkins, paper straws, and popcorn containers all came from the dollar spot section. It’s one of my favorite places to shop for fun and trendy seasonal items.
My crafty friends often show off little creations they made using dollar spot items, and I wanted to make something too. The problem is, that I am not crafty. At all. Most of my crafts look like they were completed by a four year old. I can’t even draw a straight line, so whatever I did had to be
fool proof whimsical. I started by grabbing my nifty paint pens and the popcorn containers, sitting on the couch, turning on Once Upon a Time (I’m seasons behind, so no spoilers please), and doodling while I watched an episode. The containers went from this:
Cute, right? And easy enough that anyone can make them because there’s no right or wrong way to color freehand. The paint pens dry very quickly, so you can layer and add details after just a few minutes too, which makes this the perfect Halloween craft for busy people.
To fill this basket, I decided to forego the movie, since I wasn’t sure what the intended recipient would like, instead choosing to fill the basket with fun treats! Browsing around the Target grocery section I found “Monster” trail mix (it’s like they knew I what I needed), red fish (an important movie snack), pretzel rods for dipping, dark chocolate dipping candy so I could coat the pretzels and use the cute sprinkles I found in the dollar section, and a few other ingredients I needed so I could make a chai caramel corn.
I’ll repeat. Chai caramel corn. This is for my chai tea lovers and those who want a little sophistication with their snacking. It’s so easy to make, you don’t have to use corn syrup, and you still end up with a flavorful, richly caramelized, crunchy, crispy, totally addicting snack.
Caramel corn is easy to make, just pop some popcorn (the old fashioned kind), mix up the caramel coating, mix the popcorn and the caramel, then bake until crispy. This recipe makes about 10 cups, which may sound like a lot, but when everyone is grabbing handfuls to snack on, it’s about an hour’s worth of popcorn. I used my favorite chai tea blend instead of mixing my own spices, and I love how it turned out. The flavors were all present, and you could see the flecks of the tea, and I only had to measure one spice instead of five. Simplicity is beautiful.
If you’d like even more creative ideas, click here.
Now go forth, make your creations, and “boo” someone’s day brighter!
- ½ c unpopped popcorn kernels
- 1½ sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup honey or corn syrup
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp chai tea
- Pop the popcorn using your preferred method (stovetop, machine, or microwave). I use two brown paper lunch bags with ¼ c unpopped popcorn in each, microwaved on high for 2 minutes, or until popping slows to 5 seconds between kernels. To remove unpopped kernels, pour the bags into a large bowl, shake the bowl so the unpopped kernels fall to the bottom, and scoop out the popped popcorn. Discard the unpopped kernels.
- Preheat your oven to 250 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Set aside.
- In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, salt, and honey or corn syrup. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (plastic spatulas can melt if they aren't heat resistant at high temperatures!). You don't need a candy thermometer, but if you prefer to use one, I bring the mixture up to 290-295 F.
- Remove the caramel coating from the heat and stir in the baking soda, vanilla extract, and chai tea. Keep stirring until the bubbles subside.
- Pour the caramel over the popcorn, stirring as best you can to coat the popcorn evenly.
- Once the popcorn has been coated in the caramel mixture, divide it between the two baking sheets, spreading into a single layer. It's okay if the popcorn clumps a bit.
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through the cooking time.
- Remove the popcorn from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet. It will become crunchy as it cools.
- Once cool, break up any clumps and store in an airtight container up to one week.