Now that I've got 5 of my 6 kids back in school, my heart turns to the best time of year, fall. I love everything about fall: the colors, the temperatures, the smells and of course, the food. Although, living in Minnesota does leave me feeling a bit gypped because winter is always so anxious to make an appearance. I think fall lasts about 2 days around here.In hopes of a longer than normal Minnesota fall, here is an early treat to bring in the season. If you love the whole sweet/salty taste combo, then these bars are an absolute must have! My initial plan was to use M&M's but then I saw the candy corn at the store and quickly changed my mind. I think either would work wonderfully....or peanuts, almonds, raisins. Be creative people!
The ingredients couldn't be easier. If you don't feel like making popcorn the old fashioned way, you could use a couple bags of plain microwave popcorn. I would just reduce the salt a bit in the caramel.
Once you make a real caramel from burnt sugar and heavy cream, you will never go back to anything else. Such amazing flavor. The addition of marshmallows is a nice twist and makes the bars extra chewy and sticky :) The sprinkle of kosher salt on top is also a must. Don't think this important step isn't necessary. It truly balances out that decadent caramel. Trust me on this one.
If you didn't love me before, this recipe will put me in your dreams for weeks to come....
adapted from Everyday Food
12 C plain popped popcorn
4 C coarsely chopped small salted pretzels
Your favorite mix in (candy corn, M&M's, peanuts, almonds, raisins)
2 C sugar
1/2 C water
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
2/3 C heavy cream
2 C miniature marshmallows
1. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray. (Next time I will use a jelly roll pan because they are really thick in a 9x13) In a large bowl, mix together the popcorn and pretzels.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, water and 1 tsp of kosher salt to a boil over medium high heat. Do not stir the mixture at all!!! Allow the boiling action do the work for you! Allow it to boil until the caramel turn amber in color, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour in the cream. The mixture will sputter so be careful. Swirl in the cream and add the marshmallows. Stir with a rubber spatula until melted and combined.
3. Pour caramel over the popcorn and stir all together. Add your desired mix-ins, then stir again. Transfer to your dish and with wet hands, press the mixture into your pan. Sprinkle with a generous dose of kosher salt. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.