Cracker Jack is the most notable brand of the caramel corn family. It was one of my dad's favorite snack foods when I was growing up. I liked the caramel corn and the prize, but I didn't like the peanuts. Cracker Jack seems to be making a comeback in the stores, but the prizes these days are far from exciting. They are just downright ridiculous.
These days, I prefer butter toffee popcorn to the caramel popcorn. As the name implies, it is a buttery toffee tasting popcorn, as opposed to the burnt caramel taste from the caramel corn. But since today is National Caramel Popcorn Day, I decided to try out a new recipe.
The recipe I tried is called Caramel Easter Popcorn, but since the caramel didn't harden on the popcorn, I decided to make Caramel Easter Popcorn Balls instead. They actually turned out very yummy. Instead of a crunchy coating on the popcorn, it is a gooey, sweet coating which is just as fabulous! When life gives you soggy popcorn, make popcorn balls!
Caramel Easter Popcorn
- 6 cups plain popped popcorn
- 2 cups coarsely chopped salted pretzels
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- Food coloring, if desired
- 1 cup Robin Eggs, M&M's, or other candy
- In a large bowl, combine popcorn and pretzels. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, salt and water to a boil over medium high heat. Boil, undisturbed, until mixture is amber in color, for about 8-12 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up. Stir until smooth, then add the vanilla, marshmallows and food coloring if desired. Stir until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth.
- Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pretzels and gently stir with a rubber spatula until popcorn is well coated. Stir in the candy. Transfer mixture to a large baking sheet; let cool completely.
- I used Orville Redenbacher Natural 50% less salted popcorn.
- I believe the reason my caramel didn't set up was because I may not have cooked it long enough. It also didn't have as much of the caramel flavor, probably because the sugar didn't cook long enough.
- I used Robin Eggs, because I really like them, but use whatever you like.
- I used pink food coloring.
- If your caramel doesn't set up on the popcorn, just roll into balls.