Happy New Year!
I told you that my niece Meghan and I would be baking fools for Christmas, and we were. Everything was good and fun and awesome…and BOUNTIFUL. SO. MUCH. FOOD.
That was Christmas Day. Most of that is from me and Meghan, but there was even more from the rest of the family. Insane.
I’ll be sharing each recipe we did with you over the next week or so…today, I’m starting with our two favorite, and easiest, recipes. These are the ones we always take care of first.
Cinnamon Caramel Corn – this is fun. Start by popping a regular ol’ bag of microwave popcorn — I think you can use any flavor you want. We’ve done it with plain popcorn, as well as salted and buttered popcorn, and it’s all been good. You also want to roughly crush a bunch of pecans to mix in with the popcorn…I go the easiest-cleanup route and just smash ’em, with a rolling pin, in a freezer bag.
Dump the popcorn and pecans in a huge bowl – the biggest one you have – and mix ’em up. Inevitably, the pecan pieces will always fall to the bottom, but give it the college try.
Set that aside, then start the caramel amazingness. You have to mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together first — I don’t know why, but you do…
…and then add your butter and corn syrup. You microwave that a few times, in short bursts, and stir between each burst, until it’s nice and smooth…
…and then you do science. When you add vanilla and baking soda, it gets all foamy and bubbly and stuff…it also pops a little. It’s fun.
Now you have to pour it over your popcorn and pecans and mix it all up…which is why you want a giant bowl, because this gets tricky. I go with the two-spoon method myself.
Just sort of stir and toss until you get it all as coated as you possibly can, then dump it out onto your pan. I use a jelly roll pan that’s a little deeper than your average cookie sheet, and make sure it’s completely covered in foil. Spread the popcorn out and then bake it at 250 for 30 minutes. You do want to stir it up every 10 minutes…but this is a great time to start prepping whatever else you may have to do…or take care of clean up…while the popcorn is baking.
After 30 minutes, just pull it out and let it cool a little bit, then it’s time for the drizzle. WE LOVE THE DRIZZLE. We usually use almond bark and melt it slowly in the microwave**, then just drizzle it over the popcorn with a fork. Meghan will demonstrate:
Let the drizzle harden and everything cool down, and this is what you have:
Right!?!?! SO GOOD. I have these super large plastic lidded containers that I use for this — once it’s all cool and set, I just lift up the sides of the foil to loosen the popcorn, then just grab the big pieces and throw ’em in the container, then dump all the little pieces. This really is so easy, and so yummy, and is a HUGE hit with Mister’s family AND my family. Win-win, we call that.
**Oh, btw, when you melt the bark or candy coating or whatever you may use – definitely use a GLASS bowl in the microwave. Plastic is no good. Don’t ask how I know. Kthx.
Get the full recipe at Our Best Bites.
Okay, you want something even easier? I GOT THAT. Pretzel turtles. Done.
Cover your baking sheet with foil and set the oven to 350. Just go ahead and dump a ton of pretzels on your sheet and spread them out in a single layer. Then, just plop an unwrapped Rolo on each pretzel.
I put mine in the oven for 4 minutes – the first time you make these, I’d suggest checking them at 3 minutes, just to be sure they don’t get TOO melty. When they’re ready, they should be kinda shiny, and should squish really, really easily…but they should still appear in their original shape. Pull them out of the oven, and get to squishing quickly, before the Rolos cool down again.
We do pecans and we also do M&Ms…and really, you could use anything at all. Just squish your chosen item down onto the melted Rolo, and ta da.
Let them cool completely so that the chocolate and caramel are set, before you package them up. And be careful opening that M&M bag – it tears easily. (every time.)
You will go crazy for these. They’re highly addictive. Salty and sweet, and kinda tiny so you’re like “oh, this is just a quick little bite, no big dealNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM” and then 10 are gone. Be careful.
You can find this full recipe over at Our Best Bites, too!