When money is tight, holidays and birthdays can be difficult, but I've found that homemade sweets make excellent gifts that people really enjoy! And all it takes is a little time, creativity, and packaging to make them look cute, too! Chocolate-Caramel Corn is a great gift for those with a sweet tooth! With Sumiko's homemade microwavable popcorn, this is a very easy and inexpensive gift to make.
I got the original recipe from Kraft, but I have changed it a little, so here's my version:
10 cups plain popped popcorn
2 cups peanuts
1 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
Spray a jelly-roll pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine popcorn and nuts in large bowl.
Bring chocolate, sugar, corn syrup, and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, continuing to stir constantly. It is important to stir this while it's cooking, because the sugar can burn easily. Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla. Note: I've made this with and without baking soda, and Sumiko and I both think we actually like it better without the baking soda.
Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn and peanut mixture and gently fold to combine, being careful not to crush the popcorn.
Pour the chocolate-covered popcorn into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake for 1 hour. Once the popcorn cools, break it into small pieces. If you're giving it as a gift, there are several ways to package it.