chunks of temptation: salted caramel almond pretzel popcorn

popcorn bar

If you were a reasonable person, you would look away right now and not read any further. There’s a warning here and it’s not to be taken lightly. This super delicious concoction of popcorn, roasted almonds, pretzels, marshmallows and salty caramel is insanely addictive. If you have willpower, let this be the test.

popcorn bars

I saw these popcorn bites on Tracy’s site and I wanted them immediately. Instead, I waited until I knew I was having a group of friends over who would be more than happy to take these off my hands and help spread the guilt joy. And there was lots of joy to be had!

While I had hoped that these would have been a cinch to make, they were a bit troublesome. Mainly because I just couldn’t get my caramel caramelized. I’ve made caramel scores of time, but this time, I couldn’t get it to turn a lovely golden shade. In fact, I waited so long for the amber colour that the whole mess went and crystalized on me. However, I was able to turn it around by adding a bit more cream (oh the guilt) and a lot of stirring. So instead of a deeply hued toffee colour, it was a light shade of beige. Who said beige is boring? Not here. Also, I wasn’t able to really cut these into bars – it was more like chunks…really, really delicious chunks. I think that was my fault because instead of just 12 cups of popcorn, I probably made 14 cups or so to help cut down the sweetness some. No one cared. Even with my crazy screw ups, these were still crazy delicious.

popcorn bar

elsewhere: Looking for something a bit more tame – but still really tasty? Over at Poppytalk I posted a recipe for an easy, delicious and perfect for Thanksgiving morning kind of quick bread: introducing Cranberry Citrus Walnut Loaf. Yummy. It’s all kinds of awesome and it only has 2 teaspoons of fat and uses whole wheat flour. Yup. So good.

80 comments to “chunks of temptation: salted caramel almond pretzel popcorn”

  1. 1
    Eva   November 24, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Um too late, I kept reading and now I’m having cravings! I’ve made caramel tons of times too but I also occasionally have the same problem where it won’t change to a beautiful caramel colour! Odd…
    You see I have a problem with kettle corn and now I think I will have a really big problem on my hands when I make these! But either way I’m thanking you in advance… πŸ™‚

  2. 2
    alana (at) the food   November 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

    nothing beats the combo of pretzels + anything sweet.
    ever tried dipping pretels in leftover frosting? HEAVEN!

  3. 3
    Angela   November 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

    This recipe sounds fantastic! Perfect for a rainy day or movie night at home. I’ve been following your blog for awhile and love it! That is why I decided to give you a Stylish Blogger Award. Have a great Thanksgiving!

  4. 4
    Rachel   November 24, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I could have turned away until I got as far as marshmallows in the ingredient list. That pushed me over the edge. I can see how these are guaranteed to be addicting so making them for friends sounds like an excellent idea!

  5. 5
    vanillasugar   November 24, 2010 at 11:45 am

    big o’ bowl of crack! seriously. love this combo.

  6. 6
    Bijoux   November 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    What a great SWEET snack to post about on my birthday! LOL I made a similar popcorn snack last year with melted dark chocolate and sea salt. It tasted good but about an hour later I had serious heartburn. I’m sure it had everything to do with the volume I consumed. This popcorn snack sounds delicious and I know I’ll be making this one evening when I don’t have to go into work the next day, just in case I eat too much πŸ™‚

  7. 7
    Joanne   November 25, 2010 at 3:30 am

    I made homemade caramel for the first time this week and now…well…let’s just say it’s dangerous to live in my apartment at the moment. These sound seriously delicious.

  8. 8
    Kate   November 25, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Oh, I can not wait to make these! Savory popcorn isn’t my thing, but when you add pretzels and marshmallow and caramel? How can a girl resist?


  9. 9
    another Kate   November 25, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    i’m throwing in the towel. you win.

  10. 10
    Christmas Sweets   November 26, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Hey! Found your blog at cococakecupcakes and so far so good. These are so tempting it’s worth a try. I hope mine will exactly look like the original one. πŸ™‚

  11. 11
    Melynda@Moms Sunday Cafe   November 26, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Oh man! I can’t weight to make this!

  12. 12
    Elizabeth   November 26, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    This looks so good I want to curse! Yes, please.

  13. 13
    Jessica   November 26, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I see a big heap of this stuff being packed into tins for xmas gifts…yum! I had to LOL at Melynda’s comment. Don’t feel too guilty, Melynda!

  14. 14
    homegrown countrygirl   November 27, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I am not a reasonable person… so i kept reading… and I’m glad I did!!!

  15. 15
    kickpleat   November 28, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Eva, what’s up with that??! So frustrating. Kettle corn? I’m curious!

    Alana, I’m all about the pretzels and sweet. The Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with pretzels in it? My fave. Yum.

    Thanks Angela for the blogger award πŸ™‚

    Yes, I think making these for friends is the best idea ever, Rachel. Less dangerous that way.

    Oh indeed, vanillasugar. Crack attack!!

    Bijoux, I hope you had a great birthday and I wish I could send you some of this good stuff as a sweet surprise! You’ll just have to whip up a batch for the holidays.

    Joanne, homemade caramel is dangerous – this is doubly so, really.

    Kate I LOVE savoury popcorn, but this is a welcome (oh so welcome) treat. Enjoy!

    another Kate, thank you πŸ™‚

    Thanks Christmas Sweets – I hope yours look better than mine too!

    hahaha, Melynda!! Weight indeed.

    Elizabeth, it is. Enjoy!

    Jessica, this would be ideal as a holiday treat. Definitely.

    ha, thanks homegrown!

  16. 16
    tracy   November 28, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    YESSSSSS!!! So glad you tried these! I always start to doubt myself with getting the caramel brown, but it just takes a little patience and no stirring. yum yum yum

  17. 17
    kickpleat   December 2, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Well thanks to you Tracy. I wish mine turned out better (squares would have been nice!), but I liked the chunks too. Trust me, there was no complaining at all.

  18. 18
    colemom   December 4, 2010 at 5:57 am

    this recipe will definitely be included in my christmas care packages! so glad i stumbled upon your fab recipe!!! thanks!!

  19. 19
    kickpleat   December 7, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks colemom, it would be fab in care packages! Enjoy.

  20. 20
    Jen   December 8, 2010 at 6:29 am

    I made some of this yesterday and it is incredible! I used President’s Choice alphabet pretzels and they make the mixture look really cute. Everyone who tasted it raved about it and my babysitter had to have a copy of the recipe.

  21. 21
    kickpleat   December 22, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Jen, that sounds amazing! I love the idea of letter-shaped pretzels. Cute!!

  22. 22
    Ashley   January 31, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    OHhh this looks very dangerous indeed…

  23. 23
    Pam   September 28, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I am thinking if you used brown sugar instead of white it would have looked more like Carmel, just wondering because everytime I have made homemade Carmel it has called for brown sugar no white

  24. 24
    kickpleat   September 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Good call Pam! Next time I make this I’ll use brown sugar πŸ™‚ Still delicious, either way, I’m sure!

  25. 25
    mel mccarthy   October 30, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Drool! Thank You or sharing the recipe.

  26. 26
    Holly   November 30, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Sorry, this recipe doesn’t work! The reason why is because of the Heavy Cream. Perhaps, this is a typo within the recipe. I love to cook and was looking soooo forward to making this. I was disappointed.

  27. 27
    kickpleat   November 30, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Holly, sorry you couldn’t get the recipe to work. Can you tell me what it was about the cream that was the problem? The recipe worked for me exactly as directed so I’m wondering what the problem was when you gave it a go. Adding the cream and marshmallows will turn turn the mixture creamy and thick and gooey. Is that what happened?

  28. 28
    jessica m   December 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I’m wondering if I did it right, because I made it last night and I thought it would dry out and become crunchy like caramel corn. I was going to pack it in tins and give it as a gift. But even after letting it dry overnight it’s still sticky and gooey like rice krispie treats, so I’m afraid if I pack it it will just turn into one big giant blob. Is that how it’s supposed to be? Gooey?

  29. 29
    kickpleat   December 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Jessica, it’s not supposed to be gooey. In fact, it dries really quickly. I know some people have had success with this recipe and a couple haven’t. No idea why – I’ll have to make this again soon. Sorry!

  30. 30
    ROBIN   February 25, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I made this tonight and followed the recipe exactly and it turned out soft and gooey. I was bummed. Fortunately I had a bunch of teenage boys here who didn’t care.

  31. 31
    Cindi Lillo   March 9, 2012 at 10:20 am

    WOW this looks amazing

  32. 32
    Aasa   March 21, 2012 at 4:53 am

    I’d love to make this but I can’t. They don’t sell bowls that big in England….lol!

  33. 33
    Rachel   April 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I just have to ask, why the cream? I mean, what does it do for the dish?

  34. 34
    kickpleat   April 27, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Rachel, most caramels are made with cream. It adds to the texture, creamy rather than snappy.

  35. 35
    Jamie   May 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I tried this recipe this weekend and the sugar and water mixture didn’t carmalize. The water evaporated and the sugar crystalized and turned hard as a rock. In all the caramel recipes I’ve tried they called for butter to be added to the sugar water mixture. Does this recipe require butter at all? I wasn’t to happy with the results of this and will be removing it from my pinterst board.

  36. 36
    kickpleat   May 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Jamie, no butter is needed here. Did you mix because you shouldn’t – mixing can create crystals that will ruin the caramel. Some people add lemon juice to hamper the crystalization process, but the cream should take care of that. Not sure what happened without more details. Sorry it didn’t turn out for you.

  37. 37
    Amanda   July 2, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I’m assuming the pretzels and almonds go in when you add the marshmallows? Can you just use caramel topping instead of making your own? I’ll give it a go and post what I got.

  38. 38
    Amanda   July 2, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Whoops. Just read the first instruction. =)

  39. 39
    kickpleat   July 3, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Amanda, if you used caramel topping, it would remain sticky. This hardens up a bit and is quite simple to make. Let me know how it goes!

  40. 40
    Lori   August 22, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    I made this tonight, and while it tastes so yummy, it is gooey/sticky. I finally figured out how to fix that; in fact most caramel corn recipes call for it: After mixing, place in oven at 250 degrees for 10-15 mins, remove and stir and place in oven for another 10-15 mins. I also split it into two 9×13 pans.

  41. 41
    Lori   August 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    forgot to mention, once removed from the oven, transfer to waxed paper and spread out into a single layer; allow to cool.

  42. 42
    Courtney   August 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Mine turned out soggy and melted πŸ™ in the oven now to try and harden it up…I did use almond milk because of our dairy allergy it is thick like cream but could have been the problem

  43. 43
    チャンルー ネックレス   September 26, 2012 at 5:03 am

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  44. 44
    Julie   October 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Had the same problem that many are having… Mine is a gooey mess. I stuck it in the oven, but all of my popcorn is now chewy and shrunken. Bummer!

  45. 45
    kickpleat   October 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I just re-made this according to the recipe above and it came out even more perfectly than the first time I made it. When you pour the caramel over the popcorn, it does stiffen really quickly so you have to stir quickly & it helps to have a second person to help hold the bowl (thank you husband). No need for it to go into the oven. But it’s now ready to be cut into squares and it tastes delicious!

  46. 46
    Betty   November 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Would it help to add “Do Not Stir!” to the caramelization instructions? Could stirring cause the sticky problem people are having?

  47. 47
    Jessica   November 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I have not tried this recipe yet but I make caramel all the time. If you are having trouble with the caramelization try this. Add your sugar to a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add your water, pouring slowly so as not to “splash” the sugar up on the sides of the pot. Stir just enough to make sure it is combined. If there is any remaining sugar on the sides of the pot use a wet pastry brush to wipe it off. Turn the heat all the way up and do nothing from that point, don’t even touch it again until the sugar starts to turn the dark caramel color. The bubbling will slow and it might seem like it is never going to change but it will and it will happen fast when it does. Then when it reaches the color you like remove it from the heat and add the cream. Wait for the crazy bubbling to slow down then quickly stir it to ensure everything is mixed well. Don’t use brown sugar, it won’t work out the same. Caramel gets it’s color from the burning of the white sugar and brown sugar will not harden the same way white sugar will after it is cooked. I hope this helps πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to try the recipe, I’m having my hubby stop for pretzels on his way home from work!

  48. 48
    johanna   December 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    It is looks delicious

  49. 49
    Dawn   December 18, 2012 at 11:30 am

    how do i store it and how long will it last?

  50. 50
    Pat   December 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I spayed the bowls with butter Pam. Also I added brickel bits and mini red and green m &m’s for Christmas fun. One problem….it is gooey .and has not gotten hard! Looks yummy…thanx for sharing the receipe.

  51. 51
    kickpleat   December 18, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Dawn, you can keep it in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.

  52. 52
    Darcy   December 20, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Hi, this looks amazing, I was wondering do you think instead of marshmallows the marshmallow fluff in a jar would work also???

  53. 53
    kickpleat   December 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Hi Darcy, I have no idea as I’ve never used mfluff before. I’d say no.

  54. 54
    Mattie   December 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I just bought oven roasted almonds. Do I still need to toast them in the oven?

  55. 55
    vpartyof4   January 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I made this tonight and mine came out gooey as well. It was still amazingly DELICIOUS but it needed to harden. So, I did the same thing as Lori did, and put mine in the oven for 10-15 minutes (as I do for my regular caramel popcorn I make). It hardened and is delicious!

  56. 56
    vpartyof4   January 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I want to add mine definitely looked more like caramel popcorn rather than yours.

  57. 57
    Erin   January 21, 2013 at 4:48 am

    Hi I’m in Australia and want to try this what could I use for a substitute for the kosher salt? I’ve got rock Salt or I could get maldon sea salt, but I’m concerned of putting to much on and ruining it thank you

  58. 58
    kickpleat   January 21, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Hi Erin, you any kind of sea salt, or use table salt (just a bit less though).

  59. 59
    Teresa   March 30, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    This is like a popcorn ball on steroids! I think I needed to let the sugar mixture boil a little longer. Mine ended up being not quite as “sticky” as I would have liked . . . a little runny, but still very tasty! I used butter flavored cooking spray to coat the popcorn bowl,like you had mentioned, so it didn’t stick and that worked great! I also sprayed my wooden spoon so I didn’t really have a sticking problem at all. Can’t wait to share it with the family!

  60. 60
    Alex   May 15, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    I was sceptical to make this after seeing reviews mention challenges with the caramel. I have very little experience making caramel (I normally don’t allow cooking with heavy cream!) but this recipe got me. The results were fantastic! I boiled sugar water for the full 12 minutes and it was perfectly golden once I removed it from the stove. DELISH!! Can’t wait to bring them to my coworkers tomorrow!

  61. 61
    Cathy   November 7, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Just made this… I wish the instructions said “Do Not Stir!”, I was stirring away with nothing happening before I finally read all the comments and stopped stirring! Mine is a little gooey, I’m assuming from the stirring, but it is delicious! I’m going to try dry it out in the oven as suggested.

  62. 62
    NaomiR   December 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Yep, I stirred too. Wish I hadn’t. πŸ™‚ I think they will be turning out a little stickier. And actually my mixture had boiled so much it was starting to turn back to grains before I added the cream – I kept waiting for it to turn caramel-y and the colour wasn’t changing either.

    Could you edit the post to say “do not stir?”

    The taste, even with the gooey-ness, is really scrumptious!

    (I just saw I can try baking it in the oven to harden – I hope it works!)

  63. 63
    kickpleat   December 17, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Cathy and Naomi, I’ve added the “do not stir” to the recipe. Thanks πŸ™‚ Glad you still had delicious tasty, if a little sticky, treats!

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