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October 14, 2010

Salted Caramel Popcorn Pretzel Bars

salted caramel pretzel popcorn bars

So I went to the dentist last week after dodging a cleaning for 2 years (it could have been worse!) Coast is clear! No cavities! We are all good. To celebrate this accomplishment, I busted out a batch of these ooey gooey Salted Caramel Popcorn Pretzel Bars!! Because really...what dentist would approve such a treat?

cutting

I stood there in the kitchen, cutting up the bars and had to walk away for a minute to regroup. Why?  Because I was eating too many of them! There were a few that didn't have *perfect* edges and I HAD to take care of them.  There was one with a pretzel sticking out and God forbid someone got poked with it!  There was one that didn't have enough caramel on top and one that did. I took care of those for you because I totally have your best interest in mind.

I really had no idea how good these bars were going to be!  I probably ate a whole plate of them yesterday and have the scratched up gums to prove it. I think my dentist would probably say, "I told you so!"

Make these and share them. Like, put some on a plate and wrap them up and give them away BEFORE you take your first bite of one. They are utterly AHHH-DDICTIVE.

Let's get started!

Ingredient party! You're invited!

pretty much

Chop up the toasted almonds.

toasted almond chopping

Add them to a HUGE bowl with the pretzels & popcorn.

prep

Start making your caramel. Sugar, water & salt goes into the pan.

caramel in progress

When the caramel is ready, add in your heavy cream. Stir!

adding cream

Now add in the marshmallows!

marshmallowy

Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and mix fast!!

alchemy

Let's take a moment to see what's left in the bowl. You want dibs?

aftermath

Spread the popcorn pretzel mixture into your pan. With damp hands, press into the pan.

It makes it easier!

spreading

You need to wait awhile to make things set.

i couldn't help myself

I cut myself a rectangle and ate it with some apples for my afternoon snack.

yup yup

It was insanely good! The apples tasted awesome with it!

Salted Caramel Popcorn Pretzel Bars

(recipe slightly altered from Everyday Food Magazine)

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 12 cups plain popped popcorn (from 1/2 cup kernels or 2 microwave packages)
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped small salted pretzels
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

Coat a 9 x 13" baking dish with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, toss together popcorn, almonds and pretzels.  In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium high.  Boil, undisturbed, until mixture is amber in color--8-12 minutes.  Remove pan from heat
and slowly pour in cream (mixture will sputter).  Immediately add marshmallows; stir until melted.

Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pretzels and quickly stir with a rubber spatula to coat.  Transfer mixture to dish and use a dampened hands to press the mixture into the pan.  Sprinkle with a heavy dose of kosher salt.  Let cool completely before cutting into bars.


***Shutterbean notes***
-I used two bags of Orville Redenbacher's 94% Fat Free Smart Pop microwave popcorn for this
-I might be fun to add a little cayenne pepper to the mix
-Salt is the key to this recipe! Make sure you put a heavy dose on the top. It balances out the sweet!
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