Do you ever hide food in your pantry and forget it’s there?
Well, I bought a bag of Halloween M&Ms a few weeks ago when I was out at Target… I knew I wanted to make a Halloween treat with them, so I wrapped them up in the Target bag and stuck them in the back of my pantry so I wouldn’t snack on them in the meantime. It worked… I never opened the bag! In fact, I totally forgot it was there until yesterday.
Fortunately, I found my M&Ms just in time to whip up a quick Halloween treat. My original intention when I bought the M&Ms was to add them to a party mix, but I didn’t have many party mix ingredients on hand, so I decided to make some popcorn instead. Since I hadn’t yet made anything for this month’s Nutella Challenge, I decided to add some Nutella to the mix, as well.
Popcorn, M&Ms, and Nutella may sound like a giant mess to you, but they sounded like tasty ingredients for a caramel corn recipe to me. I often make different popcorns to put in homemade gift baskets. The caramel Nutella sauce was a perfect glaze for the popcorn, and you could adapt the recipe for various holidays by swapping out the peanuts and M&Ms for other seasonal nuts and candies.
Monster Munch (Caramel Nutella Popcorn)
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 to 1 cup popcorn (depending on the size of the pot you are using)
- 6 ounces caramel candies (unwrapped)
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- 1 cup peanuts
- 1 cup M&Ms
Pour the canola oil in a heavy pot and add one kernel of corn. Cover and place over medium heat until the kernel of corn pops. Add the remaining popcorn, enough to cover the bottom of the pot and cover again. The popcorn will begin to pop (do not take off the lid!). Wait until the popping slows down, and then remove the pot from the heat. Only take off the lid once the popping stops, or you will have a mess on your hands.
Preheat the oven to 275°F. While the popcorn cools, line two baking pans or roasting pans with parchment paper. Transfer the popcorn to the two pans.
In a small sauce pan, combine the caramels and light corn syrup and cook over low heat. Stir frequently as the caramels melt and a thick sauce forms. Once the caramels are entirely incorporated, remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the Nutella. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and use a spatula to evenly coat all of the popcorn (do the best you can, if it’s lumpy at this point, it’s OK).
Place the pans in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes. As the mixture bakes in the oven, the sauce will continue to soften and the popcorn will be easier to stir.
Immediately as the popcorn comes out of the oven, add the peanuts and M&Ms, and toss in the popcorn mixture. Allow the popcorn to cool, stirring every minute or two until the popcorn is slightly cooled. Allow to cool entirely before transferring the popcorn mixture to an airtight container or small cellophane gift bags.