25 homemade holiday gift recipes: Caramel corn

Caramel corn, 1 of 25 homemade holiday gift ideas from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

Does it get any better than caramel corn? It's the sort of stuff that turns even sophisticated adults into greedy kids.

Caramel corn is just one way to get crafty this holiday season with homemade gifts from the kitchen. We've compiled 25 great ideas, ranging from quick and simple gifts (perfect if you're working with kids) to more intricate projects that call for a little extra time and patience.

Some gifts will last for weeks, perhaps more. Others are best eaten within a day or two.

Not only are homemade gifts a great way to save money during the holiday season, they're a thoughtful and creative way to show how much you care.

CARAMEL CORN

14 cups popped popcorn

2 cups brown sugar, packed

1 cup butter

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Remove any unpopped kernels from popcorn. Place popcorn in buttered metal bowl and keep warm in 200-degree oven.

2. Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt in heavy saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Boil, without stirring 5 minutes, or until mixture reaches 255 degrees on candy thermometer.

3. Remove mixture from heat and add baking soda (candy will foam). Stir well. Pour mixture over popped corn and toss with buttered forks to distribute evenly. Spread onto 2 ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 200 degrees 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

4. Cool caramel corn completely. Break into clusters. Store tightly covered. Makes about 3 1/2 quarts.

Note: If desired, 1 cup nuts may be added to caramel mixture just before pouring over popped corn.

Each serving contains about: 290 calories; 320 mg sodium; 35 mg cholesterol; 13 grams fat; 44 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0 fiber; 42% calories from fat.

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