Trick or Treat!



When I was a kid, my grandparents would take me on a shopping trip to the mall almost every week and indulge me with gifts.  Being the only grandchild, I was spoiled rotten appreciative of everything they bought for me and one of my most favorite splurges each week was a box of caramel coated popcorn from the now non-existent KarmelKorn shop.  How sad I was when the franchise disappeared from our area malls, but according to their website, there is a location in Norfolk, NE but it only does mail order. 

The salty-sweet smell alone was enough to draw you into the store and then you had the task of deciding which flavor of popcorn you wanted, but it was always an easy decision for me.  Now, thanks to Gina at Desperately Seeking Gina, I can have caramel corn anytime I want.  Gina made her caramel popcorn for Halloween last year and this year I decided to do the same.  It's excellent for bagging in the cute little holiday treat bags that tempt me from the shelves of my favorite Dollar Tree store and I'm currently the owner of 100 super cute Halloween cello bags. 

The recipe is fun and simple and I'm posting Gina's version but I had to put a different spin on my treats because once I got to the grocery store, I remembered I needed "Reese's" but thought it was Reese's Pieces instead of the Reese's mini cups (I stood right there in the aisle and looked at them all the while cursing because my store didn't have Reese's Pieces).  So, I went with M&M's and candy corn, but a word to the wise:  do not mix the candy corn in with the caramel and popcorn prior to baking.  Baked candy corn is NOT pretty.  I ended up picking the melted, oozing puddles of corn goo out of the mixture and then adding more as I bagged it.  The M&M's held up sort of okay after baking but quite frankly if I did it again, I'd add those in at the end as well.  I didn't drizzle the white chocolate because I ran out of time and I also wanted to keep it as close to my beloved childhood treat as I could. 

One batch of the corn went home with the Boy Toy to be shared with his kids but me thinks the Boy ate most of it.  He eventually started nearly cursing me via text because it was so addicting and he couldn't stop eating it.  Another batch went to the office after lunch and I had some happy coworkers by the end of the day and not just because 5 o'clock had eventually rolled around.

You can trick all you want to this Halloween....I'll be enjoying this tasty treat!

Caramel Corn
posted by Gina of Desperately Seeking Gina (notes are Gina's)

10 cups of popcorn, popped {about 1/2 cup kernels}
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 stick of butter, cubed
pinch of salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cups nuts {I used pecans}
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup Reese's Mini pieces
vanilla wafers or white chocolate for drizzling

Add nuts to popcorn in a large bowl, set aside. {I divided my popcorn in two-nuts & popcorn in one bowl.  Nuts, Reese's mini pieces, & popcorn in another}

Place brown sugar in a microwave-safe dish.  Throw in pinch of salt.  Add cubed butter.  Pour corn syrup over this mix.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove & stir.  Microwave for an additional 2 minutes. Remove & stir. Heat for another 2 minutes until mixture is hot & bubbly. Remove & stir once more.  Handle with care!!

Add vanilla & baking soda and stir to combine. Mixture will foam, rise, and lighten in color.

Pour mixture over popcorn and stir until all the nuts & popcorn are covered in caramel-y, gooey goodness.  If you divide your batch in two, like I did-eyeball it & add half the caramel mixture into one bowl, and half into the other bowl.

Now to finish:

Place caramel corn on a parchment lined baking sheet or a pan coated with butter flavored cooking spray {this is how I did it}.

Bake at 250 {preheated} degrees:  10 minutes for chewier caramel corn, or 20 minutes for crunchier.  Stir every 5 minutes! Remove from oven.

Melt vanilla wafers or white chocolate on high for 1 minute.  Stir to gently melt.  Drizzle over caramel corn and allow to cool.  Once the chocolate has set- break apart and serve.  Enjoy!

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