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Gusto

Caramel Corn Bars

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  • Yields

    12 bars

  • Ease of preparation

    Medium

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) peanut butter
  • ½ cup (120 ml) icing sugar
  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml) flour
  • 2 cups (480 ml) semisweet chocolate chips

Caramel corn

  • 2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) corn kernels
  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml) roasted, salted peanuts
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) butter
  • 1 cup (240 ml) brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking soda

 

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) melted semisweet chocolate, for drizzling
  • ½ cup (120 ml) chopped roasted, salted peanuts

Directions

To make crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. In a bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, and icing sugar. Add flour and stir to combine evenly. Press mixture into a greased 9 x 9-inch (22 cm x 22 cm) glass baking pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly toasted.
  3. Remove and cover with semisweet chocolate chips. Set aside.

To make caramel corn

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high – you want a thin layer of oil over the entire bottom of the pot.
  2. When the oil is simmering, add corn kernels and cover with lid. Gently slide the pot over the element, shaking to agitate the kernels. Once the kernels begin to pop, slide periodically over the element to keep the kernels from burning. When the popping begins to slow down, remove the pot from the element and remove lid.
  3. Carefully pour the hot popcorn into a large bowl. Pour roasted, salted peanuts over the popcorn and set aside.
  4. In a pot, heat butter over medium heat. When butter has melted, add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low, simmering undisturbed for 8-10 minutes for a nice deep caramel or until it reaches 250 F (120 C).
  5. Remove pot from stove and whisk in vanilla and baking soda. Pour hot caramel sauce over popcorn and peanuts and stir to coat evenly.
  6. Immediately press caramel popcorn over the chocolate-covered crust, using a spoon or spatula to press down and layer evenly.
  7. Drizzle melted chocolate over bars and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Let cool and set for at least 1 hour.
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