Love Can Be Corny | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Love Can Be Corny 

Published February 1, 2012 at 4:00 a.m. | Updated April 4, 2022 at 7:31 p.m.

Valentine giving — and getting — is upon us. Will you say it with flowers, chocolates or a greeting card declaring love and affection? As with most things, homemade Valentines are better, and edible homemade Valentines are best.

Tossed with pretzel bits and candy-coated chocolate pieces in red, pink and white, this caramel corn makes a sweet-and-salty gift to share with your child's classmates. Just pour the mix into cellophane bags and tie with red and pink ribbons to rival any store-bought treat this Valentine's Day.

Sweet & Salty Popcorn Mix

  • 2 quarts (about 8 cups) popped corn, plain
  • 1 cup pretzels, broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup candy-coated chocolate pieces in Valentine colors, either plain or with peanuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Grease an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet (or line with a silicone baking mat).
  3. Combine popcorn and pretzel pieces and spread across prepared baking sheet. Set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan over low heat, combine butter, brown sugar, honey and salt. Once the butter melts, let the mixture bubble and cook for another 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla and baking soda.
  6. Immediately pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pretzels. Using a spatula, toss the popcorn to coat.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  8. Let cool, then break into pieces and toss with chocolate candy.
  9. Store mix in an airtight container or package for Valentine giving.

Steps the kids can help with:

  • Measuring ingredients
  • Breaking pretzels into pieces
  • Spreading plain popcorn and pretzel pieces on baking sheet
  • Tossing popcorn with caramel (older kids)
  • Bagging popcorn mix to give as gifts

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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