Starting with a warning because…once you pop open the bag of this Caramel Crunch you will.not.stop- MUNCHINGGGG! Crunchy fresh popcorn kernels and pretzels with a not-too-sweet browned vegan butter and caramel crunch. Drizzle this tray of wonderfulness with melted chocolate, and you have yourself the perfect snack time food! Bonus? It’s vegan and uses pretty basic pantry staples.
(I will admit that last time I made these I ate ALMOST the entire recipe full myself, shhhh.)
So, when we got married, we got this really great gift and it was a popcorn machine. I have gotten kind of obsessed with this caramel popcorn and have been using said machine very often, and am somewhat inspired to start giving popcorn machines(or waffle machines?!) as wedding presents. I don’t need a hundred challah covers, but cool kitchen appliances that I would never go off and buy on my own? YESSSS.
If you don’t have a popcorn machine, you can actually pop popcorn in a large pot on the stovetop.
How to pop popcorn on the stovetop:
In a large pot, heat 1 1/2 Tablespoons of oil. (this will make around 6 cups of popped popcorn).
Add in 3 kernels. When one of them pops, add 1/4 cup of kernels. Cover the pot, and gently shake it while the kernels pop, to prevent burning. Once the popping all but stops, remove from the heat, and continue to shake the pot until there are no more stragglers popping.
^^Pretty cool actually and it is SO FUN, whether you are a toddler or not, to watch the kernels pop!
Looking for more goodies to bake this weekend? These are some of my favourites….
I like getting the popcorn ready and mixed with the pretzels in a large baking sheet before making the good stuff- the saucy sauce. For the caramel, we will be using brown sugar, a little salt, corn syrup, and vegan butter. If you like, you can use real butter, but if not, I highly suggest vegan butter, which is made on a base of coconut and vegetable oils, as opposed to margarine. Margarine is so unhealthy and frankly, is a pain to clean(so greasy!). Once this mixture boils, we take it off the heat and add in the cinnamon and baking soda.
Why baking soda?
The baking soda reacts with the acid-found in molasses, corn syrup and brown sugar, and creates little air bubbles and a lot of foam! The mixture will puff up a ton, so don’t be alarmed! Those little air bubbles, once cooled, will make a softer texture of caramel- so you don’t have rock hard candy, but the perfect caramel crunch.
Then the caramel is poured over the popcorn and pretzels, mixed, and baked.
You will find that the caramel doesn’t cover every single piece of popcorn. Once you put it in the oven to bake, the caramel will melt, and that’s when you can make sure you get all those little guys. It needs to be stirred every 15 minutes for one hour. To save yourself jumping off the couch a million times, I like to make this while I’m cooking something else, and am in the kitchen already.
TIP: When you go in to stir, make sure to get the corners of the baking tray to prevent burns- there is no need for you to learn the hard way, like someone we know.
If you make this Chocolate Caramel Crunch, be sure to leave a comment/rating below, and tag me in your photos on Instagram! I love to see the faces behind the readers!
Chocolate Caramel Popcorn Crunch(dairy-free!)
- 6 cups popcorn, popped
- 2 1/2 cups pretzels
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 bars dark, dairy free chocolate
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and add the popcorn and pretzels. Preheat the oven to 93 c/200 f.
- In a saucepan, combine the vegan butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let it boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat,add the baking soda and cinnamon, and stir to combine. The mixture will froth up quite a bit. Pour the caramel over the popcorn mix and, working quickly so it doesn't harden, mix to coat.
- Bake for 1 hour, mixing(be sure to get the corners), every 15 minutes.
- In a microwave safe bowl, break up the chocolate bars. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and again for 30 seconds. Stir till smooth and drizzle over the popcorn crunch. Let cool and break into chunks. Store in a ziplock bag or airtight container on the counter. Enjoy!