Sorry for the delay, but the weather here over the past week in Chicago has really put a cramp in my cooking and baking. It’s just too nice to stay inside and do either.
The past couple days have been a lovely blur of seltzer water, iced drinks and freezes, and slurpees. Things you can savor out in the heat and play well with the beach. Things that require not a lick of flame or the zap of a microwave to make ready. I’ve consistently gone to the beach the last five days in a row. Ah, the end of college and the beginning of summer.
What a wonderful thing.
Of course, chocolate just doesn’t hold up to this kind of heat, so I’ve had to tap out my treats. Ice cream is in constant rotation, but sometimes you just need a little crunch.
Homemade pecan toffee popcorn fits the bill. Every Friday from January to May I would commute downtown for an internship, and every Friday I would get off a couple stops early in the Loop to stop by Garrett’s popcorn. It’s the smell, really, that gets you. More piquant and rich than wafts of homemade ice cream cones, Garrett’s popcorn really fills the air. For months, I was powerless against such smells. And then, I decided to make it at home.
The only hour the oven has been on in the past week was yesterday, quite early in the morning before the 95 degree day really set in. A nibble here, a bite after lunch, this popcorn is the sweetness of summer, distilled. Or rather, caramelized and toasted. And clearly, there isn’t anything better than a caramel summer.
Recipe on the following page.