To be perfectly honest, Valentine's Day has never been my favorite holiday. I've just had too many without a sweetheart to truly appreciate it. In fact, I have been known to call it "Singles' Awareness Day." But, since the rest of the world is overtaken with hearts, cupids, doves, ribbons, red, pink, and sweets I thought I might as well join in on that last one.
I had a terrible craving for something sweet last week and decided to try making Caramel Corn. It was amazing and, aside from the caramel overflowing in the microwave (even after upgrading it to a larger measuring cup), a complete success. So when I realized I didn't have what I needed to make the valentines I originally had in mind, I decided to do a popcorn treat. So I searched Pinterest, I Googled, and eventually I decided on two treats.
For the first, I decided to take a cue from Sara at OurBestBites.com and cheat a little bit with the caramel corn recipe, using white sugar instead of brown and adding red gel food coloring. Worked rather well, until I baked it, when it turned more orangey-brown. Still, it tastes delicious and it's not too off color because I shortened the baking time when I noticed the change.
For the second, I followed the recipe as instructed for Fruity Candy Popcorn, using Strawberry Jell-O. Loved it -- it made my whole kitchen smell good! However, I'd popped a full 1/2 cup of kernels, too much popcorn for one batch to coat it to my satisfaction so I had to hurry and make a second batch. I recommend either making sure you measure your popped popcorn or making a double batch to begin with.
After letting them cool, I broke the popcorn up into pieces and placed them in sandwich baggies. Then, I made tags for them. Nothing fancy, just used Microsoft Word and I "borrowed" some past xkcd comics to decorate them. Since it is Valentine's Day, I must declare my love for xkcd. It's snarky and smart and silly and just plain awesome. Okay, I'm done gushing now.
|The right half is the red-ish-colored caramel, the left half is the Strawberry. There were 19 baggies-worth (very unscientifically eyeballed instead of measured or weighed) after I'd finished taste testing.|
|The comic on the strawberry bags (left) is here. The comic on the caramel bags (right) is here. And the bottom one is in reference to this year's Valentine's comic, here. One particular friend and I were giggling over it yesterday so I wanted to include that, since she didn't think she'd get any valentines today.|
So there you have it, my Valentine's Day plans. Tonight I'll be watching Glee, The New Girl, and Raising Hope and probably munching on any leftover popcorn (or maybe I'll make yet another batch if there are no leftovers) and going to bed earlier than I did last night.
Happy Tuesday, everyone!