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Cooking With Bitters: Aromatic Caramel Corn

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Fall is here guys. Leaves…to rake, squash, painted pumpkins, The Walking Dead (!!!), Halloween and of course, caramel. To me, caramel is one of the most important fall flavors. It’s just wonderful. What’s not to like? A fun little snack to make is caramel corn. But, you know we have to add a twist. We’re making grown up or “adult” caramel corn by adding Hella Bitters Aromatic Bitters. The cinnamon, clove and Jamaican allspice notes work perfectly with caramel, pecans and of course, homemade popcorn. I would suggest that you make this as a treat for the kiddies but, you’ll probably want to keep this for yourself. Movie night just got 10 times better!

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You’ll need butter. Lot’s of butter!

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Aromatic Caramel Corn:

1/2 Cup Popcorn Kernels

1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1 1/2 Sticks Butter (I don’t mind using Salted here. Use Unsalted if you’d like)

1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup + 2 Tablespoons

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

3 Teaspoons Hella Bitters Aromatic Bitters

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2-1 Cup Chopped Pecans (Or your favorite nut)

Start by popping your corn. Follow your label instructions for best results. Chop your pecans and we can start the caramel. Heat your oven to 250° and coat a large baking dish with butter or nonstick foil. Add the popcorn and chopped pecans and set the dish to the side.

Over medium heat, add the corn syrup, brown sugar and salt to a saucepan.  Bring these ingredients to a boil and cook for 5 minutes while stirring. Reduce heat slightly and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk in the Aromatic Bitters, vanilla, cinnamon and baking soda. Whisk for about 15 seconds until there’s a light foam. Immediately add the caramel to the popcorn and pecans, mixing thoroughly to coat and spread the popcorn into an even layer. Bake for 45 minutes, turning the popcorn over every 15 minutes. After baking, let the popcorn cool completely before breaking into individual crunchy bites.

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A Bitter Breakfast: Aromatic Bitters Two Ways. Salted Iced Coco & Pour Over Coffee

Aromatic Bitters work particularly well with coffee and chocolate. The “aromatic” aroma (if you will) really adds complex flavors in the right application. Hella Bitters Aromatic Bitters have more than just a bitter flavor. These bitters are well balanced. HB Aromatic open up all of the senses with just a few dashes. On the palate you get notes of cinnamon, clove and Jamaican allspice with hints of spice from black peppercorns and caraway. Wormwood and Gentian root round out this potent bitter expression. So, naturally, all of these flavors compliment both chocolate and coffee.

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For this morning brew, we’re employing the use of the omnipresent pour over method. I have a chemex and I enjoy using it. (I also use it to strain booze infusions 🙂 However, a fresh brewed pot shall do. If you have a chemex or another pour over apparatus, I’m sure you know how to use it. What you need now is the Aromatic Bitters. Make your coffee how you like it and add 2 or 3 dashes of Aromatic bitters to the mix. Hot or cold, the bitters will take your cup of joe up a notch.

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Iced Coffee with HB Aromatic Bitters:

Freshly brewed and chilled coffee [Even better if you grind your own beans]

Cream & Sugar to taste

2-3 Dashes of Hella Bitters Aromatic

Ice

Think of all the money you could save making your own iced coffee and how much better it would taste with HB Aromatic bitters!! Unless you like drinking sugary milk with a touch of coffee. This needs to be your go-to for all of your coffee needs. Hot or cold!

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Up next is the Salted Iced Coco. Which is just hot chocolate with lots of crushed ice. Hot chocolate is wonderful. However, in 97º+ weather, I want something ice cold. Salted Iced Coco does the trick. It’s easy to make and travels well.

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You’ll want to use a quality coco here. Try to get something that has not been Dutch processed. We’re all natural here. Go for the 100% natural cocoa.

Salted Iced Coco:

3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder [Scharffen Berger used here]

2 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar [Adjust to your sweetness]

2 Cups Milk

Maldon Salt [Or other flaky sea salt]

Add all ingredients to a sauce pot minus salt. Simmer (do not boil) until ingredients are combined. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add a hefty pinch (~1/2 tsp.) of a flaky salt. Maldon salt used here. Fleur de Sel will work as well. Taste and add more if needed. This is perfectly fine served warm. For the chilled  coco, fill a mason jar or double rocks glass with crushed ice. Top with salted coco and stir in 4 dashes of HB Aromatic Bitters. Garnish with chocolate shavings.

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!!!! BONUS !!!!

It wouldn’t be FoodieTails without a cocktail! A coffee cocktail of course.

1 1/2oz. Vodka

3/4oz. Simple Syrup

2oz. Fresh Brewed Coffee or Espresso

3 Dashes HB Aromatic Bitters

Add all ingredients to shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and double strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with one coffee bean.

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Cheers!