Caramel corn is one of my favorite Fall indulgences. Now that cooler weather is finally arriving, we decided to make a Halloween version of this yummy treat.
The base of this mix is caramel corn. If you already have a recipe that you like, feel free to use it and add the extras in per your preference. The recipe I started with was from the October Martha Stewart Living. Martha’s recipe is a White-Chocolate Caramel Corn with Cashews. This recipe is a little lighter on the brown sugar and corn syrup in comparison to some out there which was what I wanted since I am adding more sweetness later.
I followed the recipe with the exceptions of only using ¾ cup cashew halves. I also used candy melts instead of white chocolate for the fun Halloween colors. I included the link because it is important to follow the instructions carefully. This isn’t a difficult recipe but the caramel needs your full attention while cooking on the stove. I would recommend doing this step during your little’s naptime.Ingredients: Caramel Corn with Cashews: 12 cups popped popcorn (I prefer ½ cup white popcorn kernels when I can find them, popped in a tablespoon of coconut oil) ¾ cup witches noses (cashew halves) 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter (I have made this with unsalted and salted and they both work well) 1/3 cup light corn syrup 1 ¼ cup packed brown sugar 1 ½ teaspoon coarse salt, divided ¼ teaspoon baking soda Sweet Additions: ½ bag each Candy Melts in black and another bright color e.g. orange or green 1 bag Sweet & Salty Caramel Bugles Nonpareils in bright colors 1 5oz bag of M&Ms
First make and bake the caramel corn & cashews per above or your favorite recipe.
While the caramel corn is baking you can make your witches’ hats. This idea came from a recipe I made last Christmas that came from Cookies & Cups . I loved the Santa hats made with Bugles and knew I wanted to find another way to use them.
Melt half a bag of black candy melts in the microwave for 60 seconds, remove and stir (This can also be accomplished in a double boiler) If necessary heat for an additional 15-30 seconds to melt all the pieces completely. The black melts can sometimes be difficult to melt to a smooth consistency. If this is the case, you can stir in a teaspoon of cooking oil to the melts which should help.
Sort through and find the unbroken Bugles and carefully dip them one at a time into the melts. Remove them with a fork and allow the excess to drip off before moving them to wax paper. These will need to harden for about 10 minutes, or if you are short on time stick them in the freezer for a few minutes. After the hats have hardened dip only the bottom ½ inch in the melts again and then dip them into the nonpareils. This is the part I brought KJ in to assist with. Place the now decorated hats on wax paper and allow them to harden for another 10 minutes.
After the caramel corn and cashews are ready and completely cooled you are ready to assemble the mix, Add in the M&Ms (I use about ½ a cup this is a preference)
Melt ½ of the second color of Candy Melts. You can put this into a pastry bag, icing bottle, or even a zipper bag with corner tip cup out. This will allow you to easily drizzle the chocolate over your caramel corn mixture.
The last step is to add your witches’ hats. You may choose to add these after the mix is in the container of choice to protect them and to position them where you want.Lessons Learned:
- Do a couple of checks to make sure there aren’t any unpopped kernels in this recipe. No one wants to bite down onto those.
- Sparkling sugar gets lost in the black candy melts. You need something at least the size of a nonpareils for the hats.
- Using a laser thermometer worked better for me than my candy thermometer which kept measuring a little too cool and I burned the batch before I knew it.
- While caramel corn needs to be rather precise, the rest of this recipe allows you to adjust based on your family’s preference e.g. M&Ms, cashews,etc