Saturday, December 24, 2011

Moose Munch

We made this for all our neighbors this year and put it in bags with a little note that said, "Just popping in to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year?" It was a huge hit!

Homemade "Moose Munch" Honey Caramel Corn
This is a copy of the famous Harry and David's Moose Munch 
Honey Caramel Corn:
  • 2/3 c. unpopped popcorn
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar (you could probably use all sucanat in place of both sugars- then end product might be a bit grainier, but still good!)
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
For the "Moose Munch:"
  • 1 c. chocolate chips of choice- milk, semisweet, dark, white (Note: this becomes "Peppermint Crunch" Caramel Corn when half gets coated with white chocolate and crushed candy canes are sprinkled over it before it dries. Which is so very good, too.)
  • Optional add-ins: nuts, pretzels, crushed candy canes - though if I'm using crushed peppermint, I simply sprinkle it over the coated caramel corn before it cools. We like nuts the best; cashews, almonds and macadamia. We tried M&M's but they just made a mess and melted. 

1.      Make the Caramel Corn (good on it's own, too!): Heat oven to 250 degrees. Pop the popcorn and spread it in a large, oiled roasting pan. Put the pan in the oven to stay warm and crisp (it also helps to spread the hot caramel evenly on warm popcorn).
2.      Combine the butter, sugars, honey, and salt in a large saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir while mixture melts and starts gently bubbling. Set a timer for 5 minutes and stir constantly while mixture gently boils.
3.      At the end of 5 minutes, remove from heat. Take the pan of popcorn out of the oven and pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn, stirring to coat the popcorn evenly. Add additional add-ins, ex. nuts etc.
4.      Return to oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring once at the 15 minute mark and again when it's done (a piece removed with a spoon will be crisp to the bite). While caramel corn is cooking, prep a cooling area on a counter with two large pieces of waxed paper.
5.      Immediately pour the hot caramel corn onto the waxed paper and spread evenly to cool, breaking up bigger pieces so that there will be smaller pieces to coat with the chocolate.
6.      Make the "Moose Munch:" Divide the cooled caramel corn in half. Place the plain caramel corn in an airtight container. 
7.      Melt the chocolate and pour over the other half of caramel corn (in a large bowl); stir to coat well.
8.      Spread the chocolate-covered caramel corn back onto the waxed paper and use a couple of spoons to separate the pieces as much as possible. You're aiming for individually coated pieces that will mix with the plain caramel corn. Let cool completely (I usually wait overnight to be sure).
When the chocolate is firm, mix the plain caramel corn with the chocolate caramel corn. Store in an airtight container for up to a week (I have even frozen this for a few weeks and it was still good).

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