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..........It's Just That Simple!

Yanking tough recipes out of a chefs kitchen and converting each into
something everyone can prepare, with a little Yankee flair and flavor.

  
  
  

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Why a PINK chef's coat?

Simply put, I carry my Dad's legacy with me through my cookbook, cooking and everyday I am writing my food columns, he is always with me. I carry my Mom with me through a silent reminder of her struggle with breast cancer that took her life, as well as the lives of many other women who have dealt with, and are still dealing with, this horrible affliction. Besides, why not pink? It makes a man look good!

The Charleston Gingerbread

Why is this Yankee popcorn snack so called The Charleston Gingerbread? I have no idea! My grandfather(the first Yankee Chef) called it thus when he was a chef at the renowned Bangor House in the early 30s. I suppose it had something to do not only with the taste but the 'popping' of the popcorn, reminiscent of the 'popping' of the legs when doing the Charleston. Now this is only a guess because my father never did tell me either. Regardless, here is the recipe for that decadent, sticky confection that is an evolved taste.

Ingredients

For 4 people

Recipe

  • 10 cup(s) popped popcorn
  • 3/4 cup(s) butter or margarine
  • 1 3/4 cup(s) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup(s) molasses
  • 1/4 cup(s) dark corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon(s) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1 cup(s) crushed almonds, pecans or walnuts*, optional

The Charleston Gingerbread Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Prepare two rimmed baking sheets by lining them with aluminum foil or waxed paper and spraying with nonstick cooking spray. Place the popped popcorn in a very large bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, cook for five minutes, stirring frequently. After five minutes, remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda. The molasses syrup will foam up when the baking soda is added, so stir until it's well-distributed. Pour the hot syrup over the popped popcorn with the crushed nuts if desired. Carefully stir until the popcorn is entirely coated with the syrup.
  4. Spread the popcorn in a thin layer on the two baking sheets, and place in the 250 degree oven. Bake the popcorn for one hour, stirring after every 15 minutes to distribute the molasses syrup.
    After an hour, remove the trays from the oven, stir the popcorn well once more, and allow it to cool completely.
  5. Once cool, break up any large chunks into smaller pieces and enjoy!
  6. *Simply place the nuts of your choice in a resealable bag and either pound with a rolling pin or use the rolling pin to roll them to the desired size.
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