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Author Notes: I’m so anxious to jump on the Dessert Challenge bandwagon again, since I had to miss it the last 2 months. To refresh your memory, Sheryl, at Lady Behind the Curtain, has picked 2 ingredients each month (such as coconut and lime or caramel and pretzels) that we are supposed to develop into a dessert. Sound like fun? If so, join us next month, when the chosen ingredients are peaches ‘n cream. The complete list can be found here: Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge ingredient list.
Well, blueberries and lemon were the featured ingredient this month, and I was SO excited, since I LOVE that flavor combination. I even had some mighty fine inspiration for a recipe: Someone on Real Housewives of Orange County (don’t judge!) ordered a Lemon Drop Martini, and we had just spent the evening at the ballpark, where the snack vendor kept yelling “Cracker Jack” in my ear. Top that with the fact that blueberries have just come into season around here, and you have Blueberry Lemon Drop Popcorn!
But that’s where the easy part of the process took a dive. My first batch of syrup burned when the candy thermometer started acting goofy. Then my next batch was way too soft and sticky. Phooey! Finally batch number 3 was killer, all crunchy and sweet, with a bit of zing from the different lemon contributions. I’m pretty sure Cracker Jack needs to consider this as a new flavor combo. What do you think? —Sherry K-Jazzy Gourmet
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons Limoncello lemon liqueur (optional-substitute water instead)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 10 cups popped popcorn
- To make blueberry syrup, combine blueberries, ½ cup sugar, limoncello, lemon zest and water in a small saucepan. Mash the berries with a potato masher and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook on medium high heat until it has thickened and reduced by ½, around 6-7 minutes.
- Pour syrup into a medium heavy saucepan, through a fine mesh sieve, pushing hard on the solids to extract all the liquid. Add lemon juice, corn syrup and 1 cup sugar. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to boil. After it begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium, cover with a lid and let it continue to boil for two minutes (watching that it doesn’t boil over).
- Uncover the saucepan and drop in butter. Continue cooking until a candy thermometer reads 235-245 degrees. Remove the saucepan from the stove and add salt and baking soda. Combine well. Pour over the popcorn in a large bowl and stir until well coated.
- Spread the popcorn out onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Now, at this point, you can let it cool and eat it! However, for a crisper texture, you can place the popcorn (on the cookie sheet) in a 200?F oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.