Ooooh see what I did there?

Candy Bar Caramel Corn I howsweeteats.com

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 howsweeteats.com

But.

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 howsweeteats.com

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 howsweeteats.com

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 howsweeteats.com

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 howsweeteats.com

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 howsweeteats.com

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 howsweeteats.com

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

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

  1. #
    1
    Anna — November 2, 2011 @ 7:02 am

    I think I found my new crack *breaks out fat pants*

    Reply

  2. #
    2
    Lys — November 2, 2011 @ 7:08 am

    Thank you for giving us something to make with all this leftover candy!

    I’m the same way when it comes to items that I *think* I’ve squirreled away, but no….I will search it out. I’d like to blame my dad, as I have memories of him going through the freezer for pieces of chocolate cake my mom hid, then slathering said frozen cake with vanilla ice cream, and handing me a bit of this “sandwich,” saying, “don’t tell your mother.” It tasted like victory.

    I swear, frozen goods/goods you think you’re getting away with eating, *always* taste better. Like, what is up with eating peanut butter out of the jar, standing, next to the cupboard? It’s crack. Delicious, sneaky crack.

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:09 am

      Agreed!

      Reply

  3. #
    3
    Ami @ parsnips and pears — November 2, 2011 @ 7:08 am

    is it weird that I don’t like popcorn? I always try to like it, but just can’t. You know what I hate more than actually eating it? The SMELL of it! I’m weird, I know. My husband on the other hand LOVES it and is now begging me to make this for him… too bad he already devoured all the Halloween candy loot.

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:08 am

      I totally get that. Sometimes I can’t stand the smell either.

      Reply

  4. #
    4
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — November 2, 2011 @ 7:12 am

    I love popcorn and am eating some RIGHT NOW while I am browsing my google reader. And this recipe looks fabulous…popcorn, Halloween candy, and a recipe derived from Kendall Jackson…this is the holy grail of popcorn :)

    Reply

  5. #
    5
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — November 2, 2011 @ 7:13 am

    And I should have come to your house for halloween. For real? Full sized candy bars? Is that how everyone does it in the PA or are you just awesome?

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:07 am

      Mr. How Sweet insists… who knows why since he probably has eaten a candy bar in 20 years.

      Reply

      • Terry — November 2nd, 2011 @ 10:54 am

        I’m from southwest PA and all the neighbors on our street give out full size candy bars or treat bags filled with at least five minis….

  6. #
    6
    Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles — November 2, 2011 @ 7:14 am

    Your dad pops popcorn on the stove still <3 love that! This looks very tempting!

    Reply

  7. #
    7
    Jennifer@Peanut Butter and Peppers — November 2, 2011 @ 7:16 am

    Awesome idea to use the left overs from Halloween! I need to make some caramel corn/candy popcorn, oh you know what I mean!!

    Reply

  8. #
    8
    Kathryn — November 2, 2011 @ 7:19 am

    I don’t think I’ll be able to stop thinking about this today.

    Reply

  9. #
    9
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — November 2, 2011 @ 7:23 am

    This would make a fantastic gift… except I’d probably eat it all before giving it away…

    Reply

  10. #
    10
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — November 2, 2011 @ 7:33 am

    i love that shot of the candy bars…forget that i’ve overloaded on candy for the past two weeks! gimme more :)

    Reply

  11. #
    11
    Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} — November 2, 2011 @ 7:41 am

    I can’t believe you had leftover candy bars when you were giving out full sized ones! I would have totally been the kid to hit up your house 3 times and tell everyone else where the good stuff was coming.

    I like how you used up your leftovers, though. Looks like another thing I’d eat too much of. :-)

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:06 am

      I know! You’d think everyone would come visit us.

      Reply

  12. #
    12
    Debbie — November 2, 2011 @ 7:43 am

    http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/ :is a program with local dentists who “buy” halloween candy from kids. They then usually send it to troops overseas. They also work with operation gratitude, same concept.

    One of my favorite memories is watching my daddy pop popcorn over the stove. He still does it; it is pure awesomeness. I also dislike popcorn the way you do, and proceed to steal all my kids’ while we are at the movies…

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:06 am

      This is awesome – thank you so much for sharing Debbie!

      Reply

  13. #
    13
    Alysha @ She's on the Run — November 2, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    Well this would make the perfect gift (for me!) Twix would also be fabulous in the mix, I’m sure.

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:05 am

      We had Twix… someone ate them all…

      Reply

  14. #
    14
    Blog is the New Black — November 2, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    MMMMMM…. candy….

    Reply

  15. #
    15
    Rodzilla — November 2, 2011 @ 7:56 am

    so if you had to pick a favorite of the candy bars? My guess is reeses, but I wanted to ask.

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:05 am

      Snickers! I also really like Whatchamacalits but haven’t had one of those in years!

      Reply

  16. #
    16
    Jenn from Much to My Delight — November 2, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    That picture of the unwrapped candy bars may be the most beautiful photograph I’ve ever seen…

    Reply

  17. #
    17
    Katrina — November 2, 2011 @ 7:58 am

    This is all sorts of yummy looking. I don’t have control. All my candy is GONE already!!

    Reply

  18. #
    18
    Shannon — November 2, 2011 @ 8:05 am

    Wow. I would like that for breakfast right now! I have a severe weakness for caramel corn, but then add candy bars and I would probably pass out from all the goodness.

    Reply

  19. #
    19
    Kim in MD — November 2, 2011 @ 8:05 am

    I love how you made this recipe chocolate caramel popcorn! Amazing! :-)

    Reply

  20. #
    20
    heather — November 2, 2011 @ 8:05 am

    I will use this recipe since I have 900 mini candy bars left over from Halloween. And that’s probably not much of an exaggeration! :) Love it!

    Reply

  21. #
    21
    Emily — November 2, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    Must. Escape. Candy.

    Reply

  22. #
    22
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — November 2, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    I could eat insane amounts of that stuff. Yum!

    Reply

  23. #
    23
    The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh — November 2, 2011 @ 8:16 am

    We don’t have leftover candy BUT that doesn’t mean I won’t now raid the bulk section of the grocery store to whip this bad boy up! I can see these going to The Mr’s co-workers as Christmas gifts!

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:03 am

      You can totally get candy on sale now too!

      Reply

  24. #
    24
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — November 2, 2011 @ 8:17 am

    I was never really a popcorn type of girl as a kid – my mum was but I was of the mind that eating an entire bag of Lays Salt & Vinegar chips sounded like much more fun. Now however… I’m loving it again! I made a fall-y pumpkin-spiced popcorn mix with pecans and dried cranberries (http://wp.me/pSUCS-2Io) a couple of weeks ago, but I think yours is a wonderful use for Halloween candy! :)

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:03 am

      I am RIGHT there with ya! Give me salt and vinegar chips any day over popcorn when I was growing up. I love the sound of your popcorn! Delicious.

      Reply

  25. #
    25
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — November 2, 2011 @ 8:30 am

    I love making homemade caramel corn. I then cover it in chocolate. Adding in the candy bars sounds logical to me! Love it.

    Reply

  26. #
    26
    Ashley — November 2, 2011 @ 8:31 am

    I know what you mean about feeling like you’re going to be sick. I don’t have quite the same sweet tooth anymore and practically OD’d on my peanut butter chocolate bars yesterday. bite + bite + bite + bite x20 = sugar coma – You guys are no joke. Full size candy bars for Halloween…niiice!!

    Reply

  27. #
    27
    Amanda — November 2, 2011 @ 8:32 am

    Wow. This is the type of snack I would have zero self-control around. It looks fantastic!

    Reply

  28. #
    28
    Grammy — November 2, 2011 @ 8:40 am

    I’m unfamiliar with the term “leftover candy” please explain. My husband turns the porch lights off when the bowl gets too empty so that he can consume what’s left all by himself, sitting on the couch, in the dark, uttering the phrase “my preeeecious, my preccccious” and drooling.

    I’m going to go buy some candy on purpose so I can make this recipe….

    http://gram-cracker.com/blog/2011/11/rude-is-the-new-cool/

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:02 am

      LOL! Oh my gosh…

      Reply

  29. #
    29
    Kendra — November 2, 2011 @ 8:49 am

    Hey this is probably a silly question but how much actual corn does one need to pop in order to get 12 cups popped pop corn? thanks!

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 9:01 am

      I’m pretty sure that 2 tablespoons equals 1 quart (4 cups) popped, so about 6 tablespoons? Not silly at all – I should have included that!

      Reply

  30. #
    30
    Stacey — November 2, 2011 @ 8:49 am

    Oh my goodness, I laughed so hard while reading this. I have the same problem with leftover candy. What to do? My husband would easily throw it away but I hate to waste food. :) And I have the same problem with popcorn. I always hated it growing up but now I try to say I don’t like it but then I get it at the movies (load it with butter) and indulge. But that’s normal, right?

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 2nd, 2011 @ 8:59 am

      It has to be. That’s what I keep telling myself.

      Reply

  31. #
    31
    Tinkersdamn — November 2, 2011 @ 8:59 am

    It’s highly possible I love you. At least until my jens don’t fit anymore. Well probably even then.

    Reply

  32. #
    32
    Maria — November 2, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    Great recipe for using up the Halloween candy!

    Reply

  33. #
    33
    kristin — November 2, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    My gym has a donation program where they send leftover candy to the troops…I assume it’s a pretty universal idea!

    Reply

  34. #
    34
    Anna @ On Anna's Plate — November 2, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    Ha, YES, my sister and I used to raid those holiday popcorn gift tins all the time. My mom would try to hide them from us– never worked. The caramel flavor COMBINED with the cheese flavor– that was my special mix.

    Reply

  35. #
    35
    Erica — November 2, 2011 @ 9:15 am

    My Mom used to buy those tubs of popcorn for me for every holiday while I was in College. I’d eat them in no time! Now I want to make people foodie gifts for the holidays

    Reply

  36. #
    36
    Cait's Plate — November 2, 2011 @ 9:16 am

    That is really just a genius idea. The best tip I gave my readers was to top a cupcake with their leftover mini candy bars. I think it’s clear who the professional is here…haha

    Reply

  37. #
    37
    Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) — November 2, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    Mmmm great photos! Now I want a candy bar at 9 am, awesome. I may send some of this over to my bf (he’s deployed overseas).. looks like it would spread some holiday cheer pretty nicely. ;)

    Reply

  38. #
    38
    jenna — November 2, 2011 @ 9:25 am

    ohhh your are the cool house that everyone comes back to year after year b/c you hand out the full size candy bars!! :) i knew i liked you.

    this popcorn looks way too good

    Reply

  39. #
    39
    katie @KatieDid — November 2, 2011 @ 9:36 am

    I’m the SAME way about popcorn. I never ever crave it. Until its being popped anywhere within a mile vicinity of me and I can smell its buttery goodness and all of a sudden I find myself seeking it out and loving it. my favorite way to eat it is drizzled in tahini.

    Reply

  40. #
    40
    Evan Thomas — November 2, 2011 @ 9:41 am

    I think your dad and I would get along. I’ve been eating plain popcorn almost every day lately. Then again I certainly wouldn’t mind popcorn this way, either.

    Reply

  41. #
    41
    Holly @ The Runny Egg — November 2, 2011 @ 10:11 am

    I was just trying to come up with some homemade food gifts for some distant family members — we see them at the holidays and they always get us something but I needed some cheap ideas! This is perfect.

    Reply

  42. #
    42
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — November 2, 2011 @ 10:30 am

    I have none of those bars in my house but now really want both a crunch bar and a butterfinger. Wow. Trying to resist the bowl of mini chocolates in the other room.

    Reply

  43. #
    43
    Melanie — November 2, 2011 @ 10:31 am

    I LOVE YOU! Not in the way I wanna marry you (well maybe a little), but more in the way you read my mind and finish my sentences. I have been telling everyone that I want to make caramel corn for weeks, but I’m sure it’s too tricky for me to figure out. OoooH Nooooo! I got this. I will do this! I put all the halloween treats in the freezer “to save.” I almost threw up chocolate last night after nearly breaking my teeth on TEN too many “fun-sized” bars, and I had a frozen Lofthouse Sugar Cookie for dessert….. after breakfast today….. and maybe yesterday. (Don’t knock it til ya try it) The only food with nutritional value I had yesterday was your chicken enchilada spaghetti. That was a masterpiece! I’m sorry for doubting you on that one. :)

    Reply

  44. #
    44
    Ari@ThE DiVa DiSh — November 2, 2011 @ 10:37 am

    You are such a genius! What a great way to get rid of the buckets of candy sitting on my counter :-).

    Reply

  45. #
    45
    Kelly — November 2, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    Love. This is a much more upscale version of my mom melted chocolate bars and pouring over popcorn. ;)

    Reply

  46. #
    46
    Lauren from Lauren's Latest — November 2, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    This should be illegal. Correction: you and your recipes should be illegal. Pretty sure I gain 6 pounds every time I come to your site.

    Reply

  47. #
    47
    Jimmi M. — November 2, 2011 @ 11:18 am

    You could donate it to the troops, if you don’t want to have to eat it all or make yummy things for us to see :)
    http://www.operationgratitude.com/contact-us/#donations
    http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/contact-us.html

    Reply

  48. #
    48
    Jess @ Jess Go Bananas — November 2, 2011 @ 11:47 am

    Package this up and send it to me! Early Xmas gift! lol

    Reply

  49. #
    49
    Nicole, RD — November 2, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    Oh my…that looks fantastic! Maybe if I send out this post to friends/family they’ll be so kind as to gift give something like THIS?!

    Reply

  50. #
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    collette — November 2, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    I could NEVER make this, I would never give any away and I would be so sick, cuz I would eat all of this in one sitting!!! My favorite popcorn is dark chocolate Moose Munch by Harry and David, I bet this is even better!!

    Reply

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