Is everyone ready for Halloween?? I got my one bag of candy, in hopes that I have at least a few trick or treaters. The first year I lived at this apartment, I got three huge bags — I was so ready for all the kids. Yup, already! I waited and waited and waited. Then I waited some more. About the 11th hours of trick or treating, I finally got two little trick or treaters. One wasn’t old to even have candy and the other, well her parents didn’t look to thrill when I unloaded two huge hand fulls of candy into her little basket. I had so much unwanted candy left over. No wonder we start to gain weight around the holidays.
These Pecan Caramel Popcorn Bars were actually a happy accident. I started out with the intention of marshmallow popcorn bars with pecan and caramel, but not quite like this. I saw a recipe using Rice Krispies with a layer of caramel sandwiched in between two layers. They looked delicious. With gluten-free Rice Krispies being hard to find (at least for me) and the other brand being so expensive, I thought of my favorite tasty snack food — popcorn.
I get to the caramel part, (which I also wanted to make from scratch and didn’t want to use a candy thermometer) and all the caramel fell to the bottom of the pan. Oh no!!! That’s not what I wanted to have happen. Now what??? Well, I continued with the recipe and added the pecans and second popcorn layer. I needed the caramel to harden a bit and placed in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. When I pried out the large popcorn bar from the pan, there was a nice layer of caramel on the top and drizzled through the center. OK, well this isn’t too bad. I added some extra pecans on top and sprinkled with powdered sugar to make it a bit less sticky. All in all it still tasted good. Not so much the next day… popcorn goes stale so quickly.
Wishing everyone happy and safe Halloween!
Tidbit | Popcorn Krispies are just as easy and delicious. Follow the directions from #2 – #7 and give them a bit to sit and stick together before cutting.
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup half and half
- 5 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 package (10oz) mini marshmallows
- orange food coloring
- 10 cups popcorn, popped
- 1 cup pecan, chopped
- powdered sugar
- Grease an 8x8 pan and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, 2 tablespoons butter, vanilla and salt. Stir until mixture become thicker, about 5-7 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.
- Add marshmallows and food coloring, reduce heat to medium-low. Stir until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Fold in popcorn to coated.
- Add half of popcorn mixture to prepared pan.
- Press down until even and flat. (Using a piece of parchment or wax paper sprayed with cooking spray to spread out the top layer of popcorn.)
- Give caramel a quick stir and pour over popcorn layer.
- Sprinkle ½ cup pecans.
- Add the remaining popcorn and spread on top.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes until the caramel has set.
- Flip over onto cutting board. (You may need to use a spatula to help the bar along)
- Sprinkle top with remaining pecans and powdered sugar, if using.
- Cut into squares.