Peanut Butter Caramel Corn with Cashews

I had great plans for the giant tub of cashews I purchased just before Christmas. I could use them in cookies, make cashew brittle, or even grind them up to make homemade cashew butter as a gift.  Unfortunately, I did none of the above.  Instead, the giant tub of cashews hung out in my pantry for about a month until I re-discovered it this week.

So, yesterday afternoon while my husband watched football, I decided to finally put the cashews to good use.  I wasn’t in a cookie mood (since we still have cookies leftover from my baking spree last weekend), and I knew he and I wouldn’t eat a whole batch of cashew brittle on our own.  I was, however, in the mood for some caramel corn.

You really can’t go wrong when you combine sweet caramel with salty cashews. The caramel corn with cashews would have been perfectly fine and delicious on its own, but I couldn’t leave well enough alone.  I am a big fan of peanut butter, so I decided to throw some peanut butter into the mix, too. It couldn’t hurt, right?

The peanut butter and caramel melt together to create a creamy and rich sauce.  When you combine it with the popcorn and cashews, you end up with a crunchy snack that will satisfy your salty sweet cravings.

It’s perfect as an afternoon snack, but I think it would make a great gift, too.  Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and you can’t go wrong if you make some homemade sweet treats!  Just wrap the caramel corn in a clear cellophane bag and tie it with ribbon and a cute tag. It’s a simple gift to make for your sweetheart, friends, or family!

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn with Cashews
(Makes about 10 cups)

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 1/2 cups salted cashews
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 200°F.  Line a roasting pan or large baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot (with a lid) over medium to medium-high heat.  Add 3 kernels of popcorn to the pot and place the lid on the pot.  Once all three kernels have popped, add the remaining popcorn to the pot and replace the lid on the pot.  Wearing oven mits, gently shake and agitate the pot to move the kernels around as they pop.  When you no longer hear any popping, remove the pot from the heat.  Transfer the popped popcorn to the prepared roasting pan. Add the cashews to the popcorn and toss quickly to combine.

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar melts. Bring to a boil and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter, baking soda, and salt. Pour the sauce over the popcorn and cashews. Use a rubber spatula to toss and stir until the popcorn and cashews are evenly coated.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 60 minutes, stirring ever 15 – 20 minutes.  Remove the caramel corn from the oven and continue to stir every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes.  Then, let the popcorn cool completely and break into bite sized pieces before transfering to cellophane bags or an airtight container.

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27 Responses to Peanut Butter Caramel Corn with Cashews
  1. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    January 24, 2011 | 7:07 am

    I definitely think you made the right choice with these cashews. I am craving this right now for breakfast!

  2. Tracey
    January 24, 2011 | 8:12 am

    Your presentation is perfect – the caramel corn looks wonderful! I just made caramel corn for the first time at Christmas, and couldn’t believe how dangerously good it was :)

  3. Gail
    January 24, 2011 | 9:14 am

    If you put chocolate in this, I swear I’d have to move in with you.

    • Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction
      January 24, 2011 | 9:21 am

      Gail – I definitely considered drizzling it with chocolate after the fact, but ran out of time (and I was hungry!).

  4. Souffle Bombay
    January 24, 2011 | 9:37 am

    I wish caramel was a food group!
    This looks so stinkin’ good! Beautiful photos as well! Now I am hungry for some sweet and salty!

  5. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jen Schall, Michelle and Colleen , Tickled Red. Tickled Red said: RT @JenSchall: {New Post} Peanut Butter Caramel Corn with Cashews… Salty, sweet, and great for Valentine's Day! http://bit.ly/gysU9g [...]

  6. Paula
    January 24, 2011 | 10:00 am

    If my husband had this around while watching his beloved football I just might stick around and watch the games with him!

    Great use of the cashews and your gift packaging is lovely.

  7. Jara
    January 24, 2011 | 10:40 am

    Popcorn isn’t my typical choice of snack but I’ve always loved Caramel Corn. The addition of cashews in this only sounds more amazing. Great photography as well :)

  8. Kulsum at JourneyKitchen
    January 24, 2011 | 11:48 am

    For the love of caramel popcorn, I think not making this would be a sin. Even though eating would be a sin too. I choose the former ofcourse.

  9. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies
    January 24, 2011 | 4:47 pm

    Goodness gracious. You had me at caramel and cashew, but I’m completely infatuated with the addition of peanut butter. I think I’d be in heaven.

  10. Tracy
    January 24, 2011 | 4:58 pm

    What a fantastic snack!

  11. Amanda
    January 24, 2011 | 5:38 pm

    This is a pregnant womans dream. Seriously. Drooling.

  12. SMITH BITES
    January 24, 2011 | 5:45 pm

    oh dear. i have no idea why i’ve never thought to make a p’nut butter caramel corn – that’s a big ‘ole LOVE!

  13. Jamie | My Baking Addiction
    January 24, 2011 | 7:10 pm

    I really don’t even know what to say about this because it looks too darn amazing for words!!!

  14. TidyMom
    January 25, 2011 | 8:20 am

    OMG I should NOT have read this! Looks SOOO yummy!!

  15. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite
    January 25, 2011 | 3:17 pm

    Oh my – the perfect afternoon snack. I simply couldn’t make that as I would not be able to stop eating it…

  16. Cookbook Queen
    January 25, 2011 | 6:09 pm

    Will you be my Valentine?

    And then will you bring me 10 bags of this?? Thank you :)

  17. Joy
    January 25, 2011 | 10:08 pm

    This looks so yummy.

  18. Lacey @ dishfolio.com
    January 26, 2011 | 3:37 pm

    This looks SO good! We’d love for you to share your recipe at dishfolio.com!

  19. Kayla
    January 26, 2011 | 3:48 pm

    These look so yummy!! You’ve inspired me to make my own popcorn instead of buying them:) I don’t have any corn syrup. Wondering if it’d still work with brown rice syrup..

    • Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction
      January 26, 2011 | 4:16 pm

      Kayla – Yes, I think the brown rice syrup would probably work. Though I haven’t tried them, I think honey and agave would both work fairly well, too.

  20. a frog in the cottage
    January 26, 2011 | 4:24 pm

    what a wonderful recipe !! i love it !!

  21. Kathleen
    January 27, 2011 | 12:25 am

    That looks fabulous!!! We eat a bucket of popcorn each week but STILL have not ventured into fun pc like this. Thanks for posting.
    Kathleen

  22. Wenderly
    January 28, 2011 | 2:15 pm

    I adore cashews! This looks delectable!

  23. [...] Peanut Butter Caramel Corn with Cashews (My Kitchen Addiction) I love the addition of peanut butter to the caramel and using cashews instead of peanuts. Great combination of flavors! And perfect for a Super Bowl menu! [...]

  24. Eliana
    January 30, 2011 | 5:35 pm

    This looks better than the store bought stuff Jen. Seriously! I am going to have to use this recipe and make some of this corn for my husband who adores a sweet/salty combo.

  25. Julia
    March 16, 2011 | 8:56 pm

    Yep, totally making this tomorrow for our bible study. They might die of delight!

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