This Caramel Pumpkin Crunch is not only festive, but delicious.
Made with Amish Caramel Corn, chocolate covered almonds, dark chocolate and cinnamon swirls, and the “pumpkins” made with caramel corn dipped in a pumpkin spice chocolate.
Now, I never would have thought of this Caramel Pumpkin Crunch on my own. This recipe and idea was inspired by a recent event in our family’s life.
My daughter Jersey, 5 years old have a severe concussion this summer from falling at her grandma’s house and cracking her forehead, and then two months later, fell off her bike, and hit her head, suffering a minor concussion, we were very lucky that she was wearing a helmet, which is a must in our home.
After months of not being up to par, or her normal self our pediatrician sent her down to see a neurologist at Children’s Hospital. There we met with a neurologist and a neuropsychologist. The first day down there, she had a series of testing that took about 3 hours. I nervously sat in the waiting room, while this was going on. They did periodically let Jersey come out to see me and give her brain a break, and that was a relief. It wasn’t really the test that bothered me, it was wondering about the results.
I did find comfort that day, not just a feeling of peace I had that everything was fine, but a snack and new friends I found in the hospital gift shop.
Now when I get nervous I like to do two things, eat and talk.
As I went into the gift shop to browse, I instantly laid eyes upon this Pumpkin Crunch. I was intrigued what these little pumpkin like things were made out of.
There was no description on the bag, so I asked the sweet ladies at the counter.
They were just adorable, two retired women, just chatting about, loving their job and trying to make all of us worried parents, browsing the shop while we kill time, feel right at home.
Their smiles were as big as their hearts. I asked them if they knew what the orange “pumpkins” were in this crunch mix and they had no idea. So I bought the bag, tried it and shared. We all loved it. It was such a blessing to me, to be there and to eat a snack with my new found friends.
I decided at that moment, I would be making some for my family when I got home.
I went back to my seat and waited, then I met another friend, another hospital volunteer as sweet as can be. She visited with me for 15 minutes about her life and why she volunteers at Children’s Hospital. She said this place is just a miracle, she gets to see them every day, “this hospital just smiles”. I felt the same way, not because of the building but because of all the people in it. They were sweet, kind and concerned, everything a parent needs when a child is sick or just not their best.
In the end, my daughter did well on all her cognitive and emotional test, her physical conditions are caused by one of two things, a small frontal brain bleed or migraines, we will find out in the coming weeks, but what I know is that we are in good hands and that Jersey will continue to get better.
And continue to be her charming, charismatic self.
Caramel Pumpkin Crunch is made with caramel corn, chocolate covered almonds, pumpkin spiced white chocolate caramel corn & dark chocolate & cinnamon swirls.
- Caramel Corn:
- 7 quarts plain popped popcorn
- 2 cups dry roasted peanuts (optional, my kids prefer no peanuts)
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup margarine
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup orange melting chocolate, or 1 cup white melting chocolate + 2 teaspoons orange food coloring
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1 ½ cups dark melting chocolate
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup chocolate covered almonds
Place the popped popcorn into two shallow greased baking pans. You may use roasting pans, jelly roll pans, or disposable roasting pans. Add the peanuts to the popped corn if using. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don't worry too much at this point about getting all of the corn coated.
Bake for 1 hour, removing the pans, and giving them each a good stir every 15 minutes. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces. Allow to cool completely.
Once cooled, take 1 – 1 ½ cups of the caramel corn and set aside on a separate sheet of wax paper. In a small glass bowl melt orange or white chocolate, following package directions. Once melted stir in pumpkin spice seasoning, dip the caramel corn into the chocolate to completely cover, set on wax paper and allow to harden.
While you wait for the chocolate to harden, melt the dark chocolate in a glass bowl, following package directions. Gently pour melted dark chocolate over the caramel corn. Then immediately sprinkle with the cinnamon. Allow to harden.
In a large bowl, add the caramel corn, “pumpkin” caramel corn and almonds all together, mix and serve. Store in airtight containers or re-sealable bags, if it last that long (wink).
Kids review: This recipe doesn’t make enough, well it does but not for us! We loved it, I was shocked that the kids loved the addition of the almonds, well everyone but my daughter Jojo, who I thought was eating them, but was just eating off the chocolate and throwing the almond away. Her brothers gladly informed me on what she was doing…lol.