Munch and Crunch

Munch and Crunch!

A crafty, creepy recipe!
by Elizabeth Wells
for Real Families, Real Fun

Nope, that's not the sound of autumn leaves. It's a snacker's delight--Microwave Carmel Corn and Nutty Bear Crunch snack mix. So simple you will want to make both while you're in the kitchen. The S. family said they made both treats following school one afternoon. "The cleanup was certainly easy, which I liked," said Beth S. "It was a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon." These are perfect pack-along snacks or video night treats. One mother said they would be a good snack to put into snack baggies and use as treats for the soccer team. "I will definitely serve both snacks for guests--very yummy recipes!" said Mom Lynda Hannan. Whatever the occasion, the treats are fun to make, and an Iowa mother said, "They sure made the kitchen smell nice!"

Microwave Carmel Corn

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup white corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 5 quarts popped popcorn
  • 2 cups cocktail peanuts (optional)
  • 2 clean large brown grocery sacks, double bag
  • wax paper or cookie sheet

DIRECTIONS:

Place the popcorn, and peanuts if desired, in the double grocery sack and set aside.

Combine brown sugar, margarine or butter and corn syrup in a 5-quart cooking pan. Stir constantly over medium high heat until it boils. Cook on high for 2 additional minutes. The adult should do this part, as it requires special care. A long-handled spoon is best because the sugar mixture is very hot and bubbly!

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Then stir in the baking soda. The kids will especially like watching this part because the goo grows. Again, the mixture is hot, so extra care is required.

Pour the bubbling sugar and soda mixture over the popcorn in the grocery sack. Fold down the top of the bag and shake the contents for 30 seconds. Place the bag in the microwave, and cook on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove bag and shake for 1 minute. Cook again in bag for 1 1/2 minutes on high. Do not open the bag to peek because the hot steam could burn someone. Mom S. said this became a family activity, with everyone taking a turn. Although the bag shaking was her daughter's favorite part, her husband liked the fact "that it wasn't sticky like some caramel corn recipes." Everyone liked the taste and texture, she said.

Lynda Hannan reported, "I have never used a paper bag in the microwave before. Ours is a narrow one, and I was sure the corn would burn, but it worked fine."

Pour popcorn immediately onto a cookie sheet or work surface covered with wax paper, and cool. The caramel corn is best if kept in an airtight container. That is, if you have any left. "It is especially tasty warm!" said the Hannans.

Nutty Bear Crunch

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup Teddy Grahams
  • 4 cups Crispix Cereal or two cups each of Rice and Corn Chex
  • 3 cups small pretzel knots
  • 1 cup peanuts and/or raisins (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. honey (or use 4 Tbsp. chocolate peanut butter instead of the plain penaut butter and honey)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • wax paper
  • sided cookie sheet

DIRECTIONS:
Measure all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Gently toss and then set aside. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Mix peanut butter, honey (or chocolate peanut butter), cinnamon, and water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave on high until mixture is hot, approximately 15-25 seconds. Stir in vanilla. Pour/spread the peanut butter sauce over the cereal mixture, and stir gently to coat evenly.

Pour cereal mixture onto a large, sided cookie sheet that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Spread evenly, and place in preheated oven for 7 minutes. Stir the mixture, and bake for another 7-9 minutes or until golden brown.

Spread work surface with wax paper, and pour the mixture onto paper. Sprinkle with raisins or peanuts, and toss gently. (The Iowa mom used Spanish peanuts for extra flavor.) Let it cool. This, too is best if stored in an airtight container --only don't expect too many leftovers. These are sure to become fast family favorites.

TAKE IT FROM ME:
"Completely pop all of the popcorn before making the mixture. The carmel tends to set into a hard lump really quickly and is hard to loosen up and mix into the popcorn if it sits for too long."
---Lynda Hannan

"The recipe had a few 'hot areas' that were a little tough for the kids. Obviously the cooking on the stove, but also the butter went through the bag, and it got pretty hot on the second shake."
--Cincinnati Mom

This article © 2001-2004 Studio One Networks.

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