Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chewy Caramel Popcorn and Pretzel Bars

This weekend I made yet another batch of Halloween cookie bark! This time, for us! =) I also made the favorite cookies of my visiting brother-in-law, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. Today I tried out a recipe from Everyday Food. For the life of me I cannot find the recipe on Martha's website, even with the magazine right in front of me! Unfortunately her recipe failed me, but before I added her "caramel" to the popcorn mixture, I tossed it out and made caramel from a proven recipe I had! We stopped at Emma's old school, Elbow Creek, to surprise her hard working ex-teacher with a fall basket of all three goodies! We are still very good friends and I know she has been working until late in the evenings everyday and on weekends! Teachers that are dedicated to their jobs will never cease to amaze and inspire me! On our way home from our weekly teacher's meeting at our home school site, we were going to pass Elbow Creek, so I put this basket together before we left. I got the cute little basket in the $1 section at Target, although it is one of the $2.50 items. I used just a scrap piece of orange card stock and punched the edges and added a pumpkin sticker and a "fall" sticker, hole punched it and wrapped with a ribbon...voila!
OK, so here is the recipe! Pop 1/2 cup plain popcorn. It makes 12 cups popped. You may use microwave popcorn, but use plain, not buttered.

Break up pretzels into pieces until you have 4 cups.

Mix them together in a large bowl. Now here is where Martha's recipe failed me. It may have been my marshmallows. I had them on hand and they weren't exactly "new" and it calls for mini marshmallows, and I only had large, so I cut them into small pieces.

Well, they didn't melt, and to be honest, my sugar never turned amber anyway. I am not sure if name brand marshmallows would have helped, but we'll never know! It must have worked in Martha's test kitchen....just not in mine.

HERE is the real stuff! To make this caramel I followed this recipe. I knew it worked because I made the caramel popcorn recipe last year for our fall party and it was great! It could not be simpler!

It will look light and foamy when you add the last ingredients, but it works! That way it is chewy, not hard crack caramel...we don't want any broken teeth! =)

You pour the caramel on the popcorn and pretzel mixture in the bowl and stir until mixed well. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and spread it out and pack it down. Allow to dry, then cut into bars.
A pretty cute fall treat basket, if I do say so myself! Enjoy these tasty treats!

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