Chewy Caramel Popcorn and Pretzel Bars
At eight minutes, the caramel will have a toffeelike flavor. For a richer caramel, cook it longer.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 12 cups plain popped popcorn (from 1/2 cup kernels or 2 microwave packages)
- 4 cups coarsely chopped small salted pretzels (7.5 ounces)
- 2 cups sugar
- Coarse salt
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups miniature marshmallows
Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together popcorn and pretzels. In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium-high. Boil, undisturbed, until mixture is amber in color, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and slowly pour in cream (mixture will sputter). Immediately add marshmallows; stir until melted.
Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pretzels and quickly stir with a rubber spatula to coat. Transfer mixture to dish and use a piece of plastic wrap coated with cooking spray to press evenly into dish. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Let cool completely before cutting into 12 bars.