Tag Archives: cranberry

Best Caramel Corn Ever!

I was making a lot of popcorn for snacks after my baby girl was born, and then I came across this recipe in Family Circle and it all went down hill from there. I started making this in huge batches to give out to people as a thank you gift. And then you know how it goes, you make it so much you get tired of it…well that was it’s fate…until now. I’m bringing it back baby!

Best Ever! because popcorn is a pretty healthy snack as it is, but then you can mix it up and add in whatever you like to personalize it. This batch is with peanuts and cranberries, kind of like my granola bars, but you could certainly replace it with any dry fruit or nut you like. Oh Yeah! Did I mention that it’s super easy…can you say microwave?

Shopping List:

12 cups fresh popped corn (to pop on the stove: use a 6 quart pot, 2 tablespoons oil & 2/3 cup kernels. Cover and pop on high)

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup salted peanuts

1 large brown paper grocery bag

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions:

1. Place the popped corn, cranberries and peanuts in the paper bag. Shake to combine.

2. Melt butter in a large microwave-safe bowl, 1 minute.

3. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Microwave 2 minutes. The mixture will boil. Carefully stir and microwave an additional 2 minutes.

4. Stir in baking soda. It will foam up (a fun step for the kids to do). Carefully pour over the popcorn mixture. Fold the top of the bag over and shake to coat popcorn.

5. Place the bag in the microwave; cook 1/2 minutes. (Watch carefully, as higher wattage ovens may cook faster. Alternatively, transfer to a greased pan; bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring.)

6. Remove bag and shake. Microwave an additional minute. Pour on large cookie sheets to cool. I like to put in on a silpat, so it’s easier to remove.

See how this all went downhill? It’s just too easy to make…it’s bad news…especially since I fool myself into forgetting that there is an entire stick of butter in this one. As a side note, you could make this even more dangerous by topping it all with a drizzle of melted chocolate while it cools, but I won’t even go there today:)

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Cranberry Peanut Granola Bars

Cranberry Peanut Granola Bars in front, Peanut Butter Chip in back

We love granola bars around here. It’s such a great, portable snack that I can feel good about giving the kids. Especially these bars. Check out the list of ingredients below and then compare it to the one you might buy at the grocery store. My list is much shorter, and the end result is better. If you’re looking for a sweeter version, the Peanut Butter Chip ones are delicious.

Shopping List:

2 cups quick cooking oats

1 cup Rice Krispies 

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup Karo syrup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Let the paper hang over the edge of the pan so you can take it out easily.

2. Place the Karo syrup, brown sugar and the butter into a microwave safe bowl.  

3. Melt the mixture in the microwave for 1 minute.

4.  Once melted, stir it all together and add the vanilla, peanuts, oats, Rice Krispies and cranberries.

5. Spread this thick mixture in a 9×9 inch baking pan lined with parchment paper.

6. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.

6. Take the pan out of the oven, and pull the bars out as one big square using the parchment. Let them cool 30 minutes on a cooling rack before cutting.

Makes 18 snack bars. You could also crush this up for cereal or as an ice cream, yogurt or fresh fruit topping. Yum!