Chewy Caramel Popcorn and Pretzel Bars

Seems every food blog you go to has some sort of cook-along. I always feel so much pressure to perform when wanting to join in. So why would I ever want to do this to myself? Well, I have almost every Everyday Food Magazine. I love them. There is never an issue that doesn’t end up with Post-It Flags in it (I should on stock in Post-It Flags!). I just don’t think I take advantage of them enough. So I have now decided to push a bit and make Every(thurs)day Food Magazine Day. I am going to try to make a different Everyday Food Magazine recipe on Thursday. I may at some point even add the recipe in ada=vance to my Facebook page so anyone else can join in. Truth be told, I am more of a no pressure blogger. SO I am not sure whether I want to pressure myself, and, in turn, every one (or anyone) else into joining, so I have to think about this a bit. I am going to do it. If you’d like to join in, let me know!

Now, back to the regularly scheduled program …

The only thing I thought when I saw this recipe was … OMG! And once finished? OMG! These are so good. These are so easy. So gooey. So many ways to change it up a bit. This was gobbled up so quickly, a second one has already been done.

Here’s the recipe –

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 12 cups plain popped popcorn (from 1/2 C kernels or 2 microwave bags)
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped small salted pretzels (7.5 ounces)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

NOTE: I used one bag of microwave popcorn and popped 1/4 cup of kernels. The popcorn you pop yourself isn’t as fluffy as what comes out of the microwave bag. I used Pop Secret Homestyle. I also weighed the pretzels before I broke them up. I suffer from a dilemma of never being sure whether to measure first or chop first. When given the choice of weight, I always take that!

Spray a 9×13 baking dish.

In a large bowl mix together the popcorn and pretzels.

In a medium pan, bring sugar, 1/2 t of coarse salt, and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium high heat. Without shaking or swirling or moving the pan, let the mixture boil until amber in color, between 8 to 12 minutes.

NOTE: Keep an eye on it after 8 minutes, it goes from no color to deep color really quickly!

Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream. When you add in the cream the mixture will sputter a bit. Add in the marshmallows and mix until the marshmallows are all melted.

NOTE: This is where I realized that this was going to be like those usual marshmallow treats – BUT on crack.

Pour this yummy amber, gooey caramel mixture over the popcorn and pretzels and quickly mix together with a rubber spatula.

NOTE: I used 2 spatulas, it was so much easier to mix that way. Also, it’s really hot so all temptation to just eat the caramel off the spatula should be avoided. Yes, I have the burnt tongue to prove it!

Pour mixture into the baking dish. I used slightly damp hands to push the mixture into an even layer. Sprinkle with coarse salt if you want. Let cool completely. Cut into 12 bars.

NOTES: I used a bit of Maldon salt. This time around I may sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top of some or Reese’s Pieces for the peanut butter nuts here. The 12 bars are 12 gigantic bars. Next time they’re getting cut smaller!  And for the cooks out there, in the bottom of the pan, once you take the bars out is a wonderful layer of the caramel – just for you! Ssshhh. Don’t share. Think of it as your reward!

Oh, and if you want to tuck it into a brown bag lunch, just wrap it in a bit of wax paper and off you go!

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4 Responses

  1. loooook so good! may be next on my list!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Where’s mine?

  3. Yummmmmm….! They look wonderful!

  4. How did I miss this recipe!!!? Yum!

    Great idea about cooking from your EDF each week…I have every issue since day one, and need to utilize them more!

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