Friday, February 10, 2017

The Way to a Man's Heart

My Valentine doesn't care much about cards. Unlike me, a sappy card doesn't seem to pull at his heartstrings.

"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach."

Yep, that sounds about right, at least around these parts. (I realize that's probably a sexist thing to say. Goodness knows, there's plenty of talk about such matters in my news feed these days, so I really am not looking to start a war.)

Truly, Randy would much prefer a blueberry pie instead of a $7.95 card. (I couldn't believe how much Valentine's cards are. He added the card to my Wal-Mart cart the other day, so the $7.95 card went on my credit card bill with our medicines. Ah, true love! At least the cashier carefully pulled it out of the envelope to scan it so that I couldn't see the front!)

If he's lucky, he'll probably get a pie.  I'm not sure whether it will be a double-crust blueberry pie ...

... or a crumb-topped blueberry pie. (It depends on whether I use the frozen pie crust already in the freezer or I whip up another recipe of dough).
But before the Super Bowl game last weekend, I made Caramel Puffed Corn. It's a recipe I've had in a "to try" pile for awhile now.
It uses "puff corn." Though it's the same name, it's not found in the cereal aisle. It's not popcorn. Find puff corn in the chip aisle. (I used Chester's Puff Corn, which is a Frito-Lay product.) And the caramel mixture is very similar to what I use for caramel popcorn, minus the salt.

One advantage of these giant corn puffs is that there are no hulls like you find in popcorn. When I make caramel popcorn, I try to keep the unpopped kernels out of the final product. Breaking teeth is not a romantic thought. But, no matter how careful I am, there inevitably seems to be a stray unpopped kernel or two in the finished product.

True confessions:  Randy says he didn't like the Caramel Puffed Corn quite as much as traditional caramel popcorn. But it was still good. If you want to jazz it up, add M&Ms in holiday colors - like for Valentine's Day. Or before a big game like the Super Bowl or the NCAA basketball tourney coming up next month, add M&Ms in team colors.

Enjoy! (See more Valentine treats below this recipe!)
Caramel Puffed Corn
3 3.5-oz. bags puff corn (not cereal - it's in the chip aisle. I used Chester's)
1 cup butter (no substitutes)
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Spray roaster(s) with cooking spray. Put 2 bags of the puff corn into 1 extra-large or two smaller roasters. Set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda and vanilla. (It will bubble up; that's why you need a large saucepan.) Gradually pour hot caramel mixture over the puffed corn, stirring to coat. Mix in the additional bag of puff corn until pieces are well coated. (I like to do it in two parts because I think it's easier to mix and stir.)

Bake in 250-degree oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn out onto waxed paper or parchment paper to cool. If desired, mix in M&Ms in holiday or team colors. Store in tightly-sealed containers or plastic storage bags.

Here are some other ideas for Valentine treats:

Homemade Pretzels 

Blonde Brownies (add Valentine sprinkles instead of flowers)
If you're looking for cake, pie, cookies, coffee cake, etc., just type a key word into the search bar on the blog. It will give you lots of tried-and-true options from the County Line. 


  1. I'm not a lover of popcorn, but I'd love to drop in for blueberry pie AND crumble!
    My husband is like Randy re cards. He just doesn't do them, but this Christmas he surprised me and his choice of cards brought tears to my eyes.

    1. I love popcorn! I don't waste my money on cards for Randy, but he is good about getting me a card. That's usually the extent of our gifts - him a card and me a treat.

  2. I don't think I would be able to buy puffed corn at my local supermarket. I didn't even know that it existed! Mmmmm I wonder if it is actually available in Australia.