As we prepare for the holidays this year, there is one tradition that we always try and keep no matter how busy we are: making and baking holiday treats. We try and make big batches for Christmas and hand them out to our friends and family as a special treat. Over the last few years, I have made TONS of different treats (see last year’s mad baking extravaganza) but, despite all the delicious cookies and pretzels I have made – homemade caramel popcorn has always been my absolute favorite.
This year, we decided to go beyond the traditional caramel corn and make our own “gourmet” versions. Thus, our Chocolate & Toffee Caramel Popcorn mix was created. The key to this caramel corn is that the base recipe is stellar. I could eat handfuls of this caramel corn pretty much all day. I could barely believe this popcorn could get any better…that is, until I added in melted chocolate and toffee bits. I almost feel it inappropriate to describe how good this Chocolate & Caramel Popcorn tastes – let’s just say it would involve a gratuitous amount of exclamation marks.
One of the best parts of making these treats is that we always make enough to share with our family and friends. My favorite part of the holidays is being able to share our appreciation with others who have impacted our lives. This year, we plan on giving goodie bags to the nurses and doctors at the cancer center who have been working around the clock (seriously!!) to provide the best care they can give to all of their patients. They are truly life savers – they work every single day with difficult, fast-paced, demanding situations and yet they are still able to laugh, smile, comfort, and support their patients who are struggling and in pain. I am always truly amazed by them every time we go into the clinic.
So, whether you want to make a special treat for the office, friends, family, or just yourself (because you deserve it!), I would recommend this recipe with two exaggerated thumbs up, a little hand-waving and maybe even a happy dance. Just think “crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth caramel with toffee & chocolate goodness” if you need some convincing.
P.S. If giving these away to others – you may want to add a warning label (just in case): Beware: Highly Addictive!
- 8 quarts of popped plain popcorn (be sure the popcorn does not have any butter or salt added)
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 bag (12 oz) of crushed toffee bits
- 8 oz. melted Dark Chocolate
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Prepare 2 large oven pans and one large bowl (as big as you can find) with non-stick cooking spray.
- In the large bowl add in popped popcorn and set aside. (we use something like a Microwave Popcorn Popper, so that we can just buy the popcorn kernels in bulk and pop them in the microwave.)
- In a medium-sized sauce pan – mix brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and add in baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt (mixture will bubble). Continue to stir for another couple minutes until well mixed.
- Carefully pour hot mixture over popcorn and mix with a wooden spoon until the popcorn is covered in the caramel. (This can get messy so having a larger bowl or multiple bowls with high sides will help a lot.) Then, transfer the caramel corn to the baking sheets and spread out evenly. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. In the last 15 minutes, prepare melted chocolate.
- Remove from oven and pour toffee bits and melted chocolate over the popcorn. Let cool completely and then bag them up and serve!
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