Christmas is less than two weeks away and I wanted to make sure I had plenty of yummy treats on hand for the masses and the upcoming Christmas parties and holiday travel.
Since it is a blustery, rainy day today, it is perfect weather for making gourmet popcorn. My family looks forward to this all year long (so do the neighbors come to think of it, since I always make plenty to share), so I couldn’t disappoint this year.
I like to cook in batches so I chose 4 different flavors to create this year: SNICKERS, ALMOND JOY, REESES’ CUP, and PEPPERMINT OREO.
They are pretty simple to toss together and the SNICKERS and ALMOND JOY recipes are pretty identical up until you start adding in the goodies. Even better, all are made in the microwave!!!! Can’t get better than that.
So, without further adieu, here’s what you’ll need:
- Large pot (I like to use a stock pot if I am working with large batches)
- Microwave bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Cookie sheets
- Ziploc bags
- Rolling pin or meat tenderer
- Large paper bag (I get mine from the grocery store for FREE)
- 3 quarts popped popcorn (from about 1/2 cup kernels)
- 2 cups peanuts
- 2 cups marshmallows
- 1 bag Heath Toffee Bits
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 6 Tb. butter
- 3 Tb. corn syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 pkg Dark Almond Bark
- Pour the popcorn, peanuts, Heath toffee bits, and marshmallows in a large paper grocery bag. Be sure to pick out any un-popped kernels.
- Place the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and vanilla in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir, then microwave another 2 minutes, until boiling.
- Immediately stir in the baking soda and pour over the popcorn, in the bag. (The baking soda will cause the caramel to foam up.)
- Fold the top of the paper bag over a couple times and shake well. Place the bag in the microwave and cook for 1 minute. Shake the bag vigorously again and microwave for 45-60 more seconds. Check at 45 seconds to make sure it’s not burning.
- *Open the bag and pour the caramel corn out on cookie sheets. Break up clumps if needed.
- Melt almond bark per instructions and drizzle over drying popcorn mixture.
- Cool in freezer for 15 minutes. Then break up and store in Ziploc bags.
- *Every microwave is a little different. After the caramel corn cools completely, if it does not crisp up, put it back in the bag and microwave for another 30-45 seconds.
Follow SNICKERS Recipe however, omit the peanuts and marshmellows and substitute:
- 2 bags microwave popcorn, popped
- 1 (6oz) box candy canes, crushed
- 1 pack Oreo cookies, crushed
- 2 packs White Almond Bark
- 1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract or a few drops of peppermint oil
- Place popcorn in a very large bowl – the biggest one you have.
- Pour crushed candy canes and Oreos on top of the popcorn. (I crush my candy canes and Oreos in a Ziploc with a meat tenderizer).
- Melt one pack of almond bark according to instructions on the package. Add the peppermint extract or oil to the almond bark and pour over popcorn.
- Stir. The Oreos will absorb some of the almond bark and the popcorn won’t be fully coated.
- Melt the remaining almond bark and pour over popcorn. Stir until popcorn is coated.
- Pour popcorn on to cookie sheets and allow to harden for 15 minutes in the freezer.
- Once the popcorn has hardened, break into pieces and enjoy!
- 1 bag popcorn
- 1 pkg Dark Almond Bark
- 1/2 c peanut butter
- 1/4 c butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- powered sugar (optional)
- Pop a bag of popcorn and place in large bowl.
- Melt bark, peanut butter, butter. and vanilla.
- Mix into popcorn.
- Place on cookie sheets and chill in freezer for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle on some powdered sugar, if you wish.