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Love Can Be Corny 

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Valentine giving — and getting — is upon us. Will you say it with flowers, chocolates or a greeting card declaring love and affection? As with most things, homemade Valentines are better, and edible homemade Valentines are best.

Tossed with pretzel bits and candy-coated chocolate pieces in red, pink and white, this caramel corn makes a sweet-and-salty gift to share with your child's classmates. Just pour the mix into cellophane bags and tie with red and pink ribbons to rival any store-bought treat this Valentine's Day.

Sweet & Salty Popcorn Mix

  • 2 quarts (about 8 cups) popped corn, plain
  • 1 cup pretzels, broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup candy-coated chocolate pieces in Valentine colors, either plain or with peanuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Grease an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet (or line with a silicone baking mat).
  3. Combine popcorn and pretzel pieces and spread across prepared baking sheet. Set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan over low heat, combine butter, brown sugar, honey and salt. Once the butter melts, let the mixture bubble and cook for another 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla and baking soda.
  6. Immediately pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pretzels. Using a spatula, toss the popcorn to coat.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  8. Let cool, then break into pieces and toss with chocolate candy.
  9. Store mix in an airtight container or package for Valentine giving.
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