Ooooh see what I did there?

Candy Bar Caramel Corn I

I threw “holiday” into the mix with all of this candy to divert you away from the fact that I probably should have shared this recipe last week. Because if you’re normal (I’m not) and have a semblance of self control (I don’t), you probably already hid/threw away/baked with your Halloween candy (I didn’t).

And then I went and posted some weird holiday-type recipe on Halloween. I’m just seriously… all out of sorts. She says while shaking her head.

And! What else is really hilarious? I never make my own gifts. NEVER. EVER.

I think it’s awesome. I think it’s a great idea and I adore getting homemade gifts myself. But I’m not creative. And seriously? I can’t make anything besides food to save my life. I don’t do crafts. Heck, I barely do laundry.

Candy Bar Caramel Corn I


I really needed to find something to do with this candy. No, I can’t hide it. I will search it out. No, I can’t freeze it. I will break my teeth and take a bite. No, I can’t throw it away. I harbor feelings for chocolate. And no, I certainly can’t give it away. Do you know how much food I already pile on my family and friends? I guess I could donate it somewhere, and that’s going to be a serious possibility and first on my agenda today because I definitely would not want to be sitting on the couch with half of a Butterfinger in my mouth, getting pieces stuck in my teeth while I watch Sister Act for the 800th time. How humiliating. I have no idea who would do something like that.

Candy Bar Caramel Corn I

So, why I really made this candy corn? I’ve only wanted to share it with you since visiting Kendall Jackson in September. We tasted this caramel corn with their Late Harvest Reisling (which I would give anything, like my soul, to find in this area) on our first night for “dessert”, and it was to die for.


Let me tell you my thoughts on popcorn. I’m not really a fan. You know… the way you’re not really a fan of something and then you go to the movies and order an extra-large free-refill bag, finish it off before the previews end, then crave it for the next 72 hours? Yeah, I’m not a fan in that way.

Candy Bar Caramel Corn I

My dad made popcorn on the stovetop almost once a week while I was growing up. Actually, he still does. He eats it plain – no butter, no salt, no truffle oil, no anything. I rarely asked for a bowl, but occasionally I’d end up with one and have that whole popcorn addition thing going on again.

The only time we would get the “good” popcorn would be around the holidays – when family and friends would send us those giant tins with three or four different flavors. Um, how good was that? My mom would try to hide it from my brothers and me, but… we would search the house, break into it, eat enough to make ourselves physically ill and leave a few crumbs for unsuspecting guests.

And by guests, I mean my dad, who also would go in search of that popcorn tin that my mom tried to save for “special visitors.” Uh. I think I was a pretty special visitor. Like, so special that I visited for 25 years. Straight.

Candy Bar Caramel Corn I

It was hard to choose a favorite popcorn flavor when they were drenched with crunchy syrups and savory blends. If I had to pick, I’d go with white cheddar popcorn because all good things in life come covered in cheese.

It never even occurred to me that I could make my own caramel corn. I’m not even joking. And I mean, it didn’t occur to me until late September of this year. I had no idea how easy it was. Trust me… it is super easy. Even easier to throw it in a bag with a pretty, sparkly ribbon and give it as a hostess’ gift. Do it. If you brought it to me, I’d totally leave my own party and go stuff my face full with caramel corn. I have sharing issues.

Candy Bar Caramel Corn I

One more thing, I swear. [By the way, do I talk a lot? Can you imagine being locked in a windowless room with me? Do you feel for my husband?]

You need to know that this recipe is absolutely fabulous and unbeatable on it’s own. I totally trashed it up with Halloween candy, which adds a fun twist, but is nothing compared to the original. But hey… that’s my style.

Candy Bar Caramel Corn I

Candy Bar Caramel Corn

[caramel corn from Kendall Jackson]

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

12 cups air-popped popcorn

candy bars of your choice

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Roughly chop candy bars to yield about 2 cups of assorted chocolate.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add in sugar and corn syrup, whisking until dissolved, then let simmer (without mixing) until mixture begins to bubble – about 4 minutes. Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes more until caramel is amber in color, this time stirring every 30 seconds or so in order for the sugar to not burn.

Turn off heat and whisk in vanilla, salt and baking soda. Gently fold in popcorn, turning it over and over again until it’s coated. Fold in about 1 cup of the candy bars, then spread popcorn on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, flipping every few minutes to ensure that all the popcorn is coated. Remove from oven and top with additional candy bars. Let cool completely, then break into bite-sized pieces.

Candy Bar Caramel Corn I

Now someone come hide the rest of the candy from me before I throw up.

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118 Responses to “Homemade Holiday Gifts: Candy Bar Caramel Corn.”

  1. #
    Jennknee — November 2, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

    yum. My waist size just went up from thinking about eating that. a lot of that.


  2. #
    kathleen @ the daily crumb — November 2, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

    holy deliciousness. this looks amazing! um, by the way, hitting up your house for halloween next year. love that you roll with the full sized bars!


    • Shea — November 2nd, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

      I was just thinking that! In my youth I had heard legends of people that gave full sized candy bars to trick or treaters. Now I see the proof! The candy corn looks delish.


  3. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — November 2, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

    If I hadn’t already ate all the leftover candy, this would be awesome! ;)


  4. #
    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — November 2, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

    You’re an evil genius. I would make these immediately IF I had any leftover halloween candy… ;)


  5. #
    Bev Weidner — November 2, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

    I’m so scared to know what would happen if we were locked in a room together. The Earth would explode.


  6. #
    Julie K — November 2, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    Yum-o-rama… I say as I’m reading your blog post and, ahem, eating some leftover Halloween candy bars. :)


  7. #
    Katie @ Peace Love and Oats — November 2, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    oh my god, i would eat all of that popcorn immediately. I LOVE popcorn of all types! (except buttery popcorn… not a fan)


  8. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — November 2, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

    All of these ways to use leftover candy (the popcorn, candy bark) would only make me eat more it in the end! lol


  9. #
    Krystina (Organically Me) — November 2, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

    This is a great idea. Me? I’ve just been eating kitkats and reese’s until my teeth rot.


  10. #
    Kiran @ — November 2, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

    OMG! I can feel my waist just went up a couple of size! Someone please sue Jessica, because I can’t :D


  11. #
    Living The Sweet Life — November 2, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

    I never knew it would be so easy to make as well… I always thought the popcorn would get soggy. This would be perfect to give as holiday gifts – – if it makes it that far once I make it!! Imagine this bad boy with peanut butter cups or with cookies and cream squares ….. *yum*


  12. #
    jo — November 2, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

    This looks heavenly!


  13. #
    Katie — November 2, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

    My mom used to make popcorn every night after dinner for her “dessert” and I HATED it. It used to drive me crazy that she ate it so much. But sweeet candy bar popcorn? That’s a different story, my friend. A whole different story.


  14. #
    sportsglutton — November 2, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

    This sounds dangerously delicious. Only problem for me is that all the candy I purchased this year is the type of candy I didn’t want to eat. :-(


  15. #
    Kris — November 2, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

    E are killing me! That looks soooo good! And you KNOW I am going to be making that pizza in previous post! We are pizza lovers here and make it all the time. Thank you for posting it. Sounds delish!


  16. #
    Kati @ The Ivey League — November 2, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

    I am on a 30 day sugar fast…why Why WHY are you doing this to me?! ha ha. This sounds amazing as I LOVE caramel corn!!!!


  17. #
    Clare @ sweetnsimple — November 2, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    oh. my. yum! if only we had leftovers.. that caramel corn looks SO good :)


  18. #
    christina @ ovenadventures — November 2, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

    I love the line about having sharing issues. My bf and I are both only children so it gets ugly around here sometimes. I am totally gonna make this.

    Oh and because of you I tried brown butter and seriously it makes butter MAGIC. I am addicted to the stuff now!


  19. #
    Laurie @SimplyScratch — November 2, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

    You are evil… {but I like it!}


  20. #
    Mimi — November 2, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

    Jess. you need to find someone who is willing to commit a crime and mail you the late harvest Reisling from CA. Seriously. When we were there 2 months ago we mailed ourselves all of our late harvest Zinfandal, Geweurtstraminer (or however you spell it) via bubble wrap and the pay-one-price boxes. Genius!!! While we waited for our brother-in-law to bring us the 3 cases we had mailed to them in Michigan we were enjoying our late harvest goodies. There has to be a blogger that lives out there that can be bribed!!!!!!


  21. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — November 2, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

    This is the kind of sweet treat that would get me into tons of trouble! I wouldn’t be able to stop eating….


  22. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — November 2, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

    Love champagne with popcorn! That’s one of the best combinations.


  23. #
    Nata — November 2, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

    i now have a date with my left over candy tonight :D

    quick question: how many bags of popcorn makes 12 cups? We don’t have the equipment to make homemade popcorn here in beijing :(

    thanks, nata (:


    • sherrie dollar — November 9th, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

      took about 2 regular size bags and we had some leftover.
      amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!! make it now! lol


  24. #
    Jill — November 2, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

    Super yum! I have to make this for my mom-caramel corn is her favorite! I’d make it with chopped up heath bars-her favorite candy! Thanks for another great idea-and for making me drool :0)


  25. #
    Fallon — November 2, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

    Love fresh caramel corn!!


  26. #
    Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen — November 3, 2011 @ 12:22 am

    Mmm…this looks delicious. I could totally go for some right now, especially since it includes butterfingers. Yum!


  27. #
    Hilliary @ Happily Ever Healthy — November 3, 2011 @ 6:30 am

    Oh yum! This looks delicious!


  28. #
    Crystal — November 3, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    I have been dying for this caramel corn recipe ever since you talked about it back in September! I can’t wait to try it. Oh and BTW if you really do wanna get rid of that candy a lot of churchs right now are taking extra Halloween candy to send over to the troops in the Middle East.


  29. #
    Mercedes@Satisfy My Sweet Tooth — November 3, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    This does look like a great and adorable holiday gift! And a great way to use up left over Halloween candy!


  30. #
    Sharon — November 3, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    I made cookies out of mine…and thought that was a major breakthrough, but this popcorn thing is a whole new ballgame. Fortunately, I think I may still have a piece or two somewhere in the house that may be available to give this a try…


  31. #
    Jolene ( — November 3, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

    Holy hell does that ever look good!!!!!!!!


  32. #
    Lauren — November 3, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

    OMG I am making this for my office…they are gonna go ba-na-nas over this!


  33. #
    Waqas J — November 3, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

    This looks delicious!!!!


  34. #
    Christie — November 3, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

    Oooh I love a good Late Harvest Reisling! Okay, you’re going to love me for this. If you ever get sick of looking at your Traverse City mags and decide to head up there, check out the Grand Traverse Late Harvest Reisling- by far my favorite of all time. It is beyond delicious. You’ve been warned. Go ahead and thank me later ;) Seriously… let me know if you find it and try it!



  35. #
    emily — November 4, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

    i really want to make this tomorrow to take to the montpelier horse races, but i won’t have time to make it before we leave in the morning. do you think it will keep overnight?


  36. #
    Tambi — November 4, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

    Absolutely loved the caramel corn with the left-over candy bars from Halloween! I will definitely make this every year on the day after Halloween! Love your site too!


  37. #
    Patti — November 7, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

    You are absolutely adorable and hilarious! How am I just now reading your blog? Subscribing right this second.

    And no, I have no candy leftover from Halloween. I ate it all. ALL, I say!


  38. #
    Kyle — November 7, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

    I wish I had never seen this! We have so much candy leftover from Halloween that now I have to make this. My mouth and stomach will be very happy but my thighs? They’re cursing you right now.


  39. #
    Katie — November 12, 2011 @ 12:46 am

    These are incredible! Made it in my residence suite, and it was gone in about half an hour, everyone loved it!


  40. #
    Eugenia — January 4, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

    Hi! I was wondering how long this keeps fresh and crunchy?? I want it for gifting and would hate soggy pop corn…thanks!


  41. #
    stephanie — October 11, 2013 @ 11:37 pm

    my best friend and i just made this! we didnt use 12 cups because 1. the pot wasnt big enough and 2. there wasnt enough caramel to cover it all ! lol we did at the end add alot of chocolate hey what can we say two teenage girls ?! haha but it is really good im refrigatrating it so it wont be all gooey for my family ! but such a great recipe! in love



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