Caramel Corn Puffs + MacSuzie is 1!!!

MacSuzie | Caramel Corn Puffs - These crunchy, salty, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth bites have all the flavor of homemade caramel popcorn, without the annoying hulls! Good luck trying to eat only one handful...

I don’t know how, but this post has become one of the most pinned/favorited posts I’ve ever done (I mean, I personally think these puffs are amazing, but I never thought so many people would agree!)! Thank you so much to everyone who is stopping by – if you like the sound of this recipe, please take a moment to check out some of my other recipes and crafts. :)  ♥ Lindsey


 

I can hardly believe that I launched MacSuzie 1 year ago yesterday… Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit my site in these past 12 months :) I am utterly in awe of how many people have stopped by read my recipes and DIY projects. Even more than that – I am truly touched by those who have actually tried a MacSuzie recipe or craft, or thought my posts worthy of sharing with others on Pinterest, Facebook, etc.

Now for the fun stuff! In honor of MacSuzie’s “birthday,” I’m sharing one of my absolute favorite recipes – Carmel Corn Puffs!!!!

MacSuzie | Caramel Corn Puffs - These crunchy, salty, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth bites have all the flavor of homemade caramel popcorn, without the annoying hulls! Good luck trying to eat only one handful...

 

The recipe was originally homemade caramel popcorn, and was given to my mom by a very dear friend of hers. You always knew when fall/winter was on our doorstep (and yes, in Indiana, fall/winter is a thing), because that was when my mom would break out this recipe, filling our home with the most delicious buttery caramel scent my sniffer has ever had the pleasure of sniffing. For serious, though – this is not a joke. If I could make a candle out of this exact scent, I’m convinced I’d be a millionaire. Yankee Candle has nothing on “caramel corn in the oven.”

Anywhoooo… Fast-foward to my sophomore year in college when I got my braces. Ugh… A memory I’d sooner like to forget, but an event that changed this recipe for the better. Since popcorn was an annoying no-no for my brace face, I was devastated at the thought that I wouldn’t get to truly enjoy my mom’s caramel corn that year. But then my genius future mother-in-law suggested I use corn puffs (a hull-less puffed corn snack, not to be confused with Corn Pops cereal) instead of the popcorn. Carmel Corn Puffs were born!!!!

 

MacSuzie | Caramel Corn Puffs - These crunchy, salty, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth bites have all the flavor of homemade caramel popcorn, without the annoying hulls! Good luck trying to eat only one handful...

Since then, this is has become one of my favorite holiday recipes. I usually make my first batch sometime in October, and continue though the holidays, making a batch for pretty much every holiday gathering I host or attend. And maybe also just because it’s movie night at my house…

 

 

MacSuzie | Caramel Corn Puffs - These crunchy, salty, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth bites have all the flavor of homemade caramel popcorn, without the annoying hulls! Good luck trying to eat only one handful...

Wanna be the star of your annual holiday cookie exchange? Pack them in mini bags with cute little labels :) Download the template for 2-inch circles here >>> {MacSuzie} Template – Caramel Corn Puffs Labels.

 

MacSuzie | Caramel Corn Puffs - These crunchy, salty, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth bites have all the flavor of homemade caramel popcorn, without the annoying hulls! Good luck trying to eat only one handful...

I also love packing and giving away containers and snack bags as gifts. In the days leading up to my Christmas gifting, I’ve even made and stored 5 or 6 double batches in a large garbage bag until I am ready to pack them into gift containers and treat bags. Since they aren’t fragile or temperature sensitive, this also makes a great treat to mail in care packages. When kept in an airtight container, these will last for several weeks – but, I guarantee you won’t have to worry about that… ;-)

♥ MacSuzie

Caramel Corn Puffs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These crunchy salty sweet bites have all the flavor of homemade caramel popcorn, without the annoying hulls! Good luck trying to eat only one handful...
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 bag corn puff snacks (7-8 oz.), plain or butter flavor (see notes)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. salt (see notes)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 250*. Empty the corn puffs into a large roasting pan. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt, stirring to combine as everything melts down.
  3. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil (watch for splatters!) and boil for 5 minutes, gently stirring.
  4. Immediately remove from the heat and add the vanilla (be careful - it will sputter as the alcohol hits the heat!).
  5. Next, add the baking soda and gently stir to mix it in. The mixture will foam up and about double in size.
  6. Pour the foamy caramel over the puffs and stir to coat each piece.
  7. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  8. After the hour is up, stir again as the puffs start cool down - about 5 minutes. Don't skip this step, or you'll end up with one giant caramel corn puff!
Notes
* PUFFS: You'll find the corn puffs (not Corn Pops cereal!) in the chip/pretzel aisle. There are several brands I've used depending on what store I'm in - Mikesells, Jay's, Oke-Doke, and Chester's to name a few. They are basically like cheese puffs without the cheese. Just make sure you pay attention to the size of the bag compared to the ounces the recipe calls for - halve or double the recipe as necessary.
* PAN: Be sure your roasting pan is large enough to comfortably stir the puffs, otherwise you'll end up making a big mess. If needed, split the recipe and make two half batches or buy a smaller bag of puffs.
* SALT: If using the butter-flavored puffs, omit the teaspoon of salt. Although, if you love salted caramel stuff, you can certainly leave it in for an extra salty kick. Adjust to your preference and the flavor of puffs you use.
* SERVING: If serving at a party, use a container with a lid and encourage guests to keep it covered. Small cups nearby make it easy for them to grab an go an individual serving.
* STORAGE: these in an airtight container as soon as they are cooled in order to retain their crunch. Leaving them out, especially in areas with high humidity, will cause them to get a little stale and chewy.

BONUS: Certain brands of puffs are gluten free, making this a perfect treat for those with gluten sensitivities :) You can also experiment with things like Chex, etc.

 

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38 Responses to Caramel Corn Puffs + MacSuzie is 1!!!

  1. Congrats. And those look yummy!

  2. These are my fav!!!!! Macsuzie done right!!!!

  3. Alas! The secret is out! Hooray!!! The world thanks you!!

  4. I’m afraid if I made these I wouldn’t be able to stop eating them! They look sooo good!! Thanks for sharing.

    • MacSuzie says:

      Aw, thank you! I do hope you try the recipe anyway ;-) I have to admit, they ARE a bit addicting… But that is why I love making them for a party or potluck – I can snack on a handful or two with no leftovers to taunt me, hahaha!

  5. Kb says:

    Everytime I try it turns to mush!! Please help!

    • MacSuzie says:

      Hmmm… When is it turning to mush? Right after you pour the caramel over the puffs? After time in the oven? Also, what size bag of corn puffs are you using and what brand? As for butter, make sure you are using only two sticks (1 cup), not two whole cups – I’ve made that mistake before!

  6. Kb says:

    I am using 3 1/2 bag of chesters. It’s during the last 30 minutes that it’s becoming sticky and mush. It is not drying.

    • MacSuzie says:

      Ah, well you definitely need another bag of the Chester’s – the recipe calls for 7-8oz of the puffed corn, otherwise you’ll have too much caramel. If you want to use just one bag for a smaller batch, you’ll need to cut the rest of the ingredients in half. Also, another thing I didn’t think to mention earlier, but make sure not to forget the baking soda – it is an important part of the texture.

      I hope this helps! I wish I had a hard solution for you, but I’ve never had that happen to me before. The one time I accidentally used too much butter, I realized quickly that my caramel was off and adjust the other ingredients to make a bigger batch. It ended up turning out fine.

  7. Kb says:

    Thank you so much for helping!! I tried again last night and had perfect results!!!! Thank you!

  8. Lynne Bauer says:

    My boss’s wife made some and sent it for us to try. This stuff is addicting! We have changed the name to Caramel Crack! ;)

  9. Sherry says:

    What brand of puffs do you use? The box of puffed corn cereal?

    • MacSuzie says:

      Hi Sherry – so sorry for my delayed response! This recipe uses corn puffs (like cheese puff snacks, but without the orange cheese!), NOT the Corn Pops brand cereal. My favorite brands to use are Jay’s, Mikesells and Chester’s – some brands call it “puffed corn” instead of corn puffs. Whatever brand you are able to find/buy, make sure to pay attention to the size of the bag to make sure you are using the correct amount for the recipe. For example, where I grew up (Indiana), my preferred brands were Jay’s and Mikesells. However, the brand I have available to me now is Chester’s. However, the Chester’s bag is exactly half the size of the brands I used to use in Indiana, so I have to buy twice as many to make the same amount. I hope that helps and you are able to give the recipe a try!

  10. Janna says:

    where do you get the corn puffs from? these look delicious!

  11. Janna says:

    Did everything on the directions and they are smaller, darker than your picture and tastes burnt :(

    • MacSuzie says:

      Yikes! I’m sorry they didn’t work out for you! Since you said they were smaller, my guess would be that perhaps the right puffed corn wasn’t used? I see now that you also commented and asked about the puffs – I’m so sorry for my delayed response! My favorite brands to use are Jay’s, Mikesells and Chester’s. Whatever brand you are able to find/buy, make sure to pay attention to the size of the bag to make sure you are using the correct amount for the recipe. For example, where I grew up (Indiana), my preferred brands were Jay’s and Mikesells. However, the brand I have available to me now is Chester’s. However, the Chester’s bag is exactly half the size of the brands I used to use in Indiana, so I have to buy twice as many to make the same amount.
      I hope that helps and you give the recipe another try!

  12. Lisa T says:

    This stuff is amazing!! I actually used 2 bags of corn puffs and only one batch of the caramel. Worked & tasted great!

    • MacSuzie says:

      I’m glad you liked it! The number of bags I use depends on the brand I use, so your experience totally makes sense – what brand did you use?

  13. Carla says:

    Corn puffs, as in, the cereal??

  14. Carla says:

    I see it’s not the cereal. I’m in Canada, what brand of corn puff snacks do you purchase?

    • MacSuzie says:

      Hi Carla – sorry for my delayed response! There are several brands of puffed corn that will work for this recipe – the three I’ve used are Jay’s, Mikesells, and most recently Chester’s. If you have a hard time finding any of those brands, I know you can purchase Mikesells and Chester’s on Amazon, and Mikesells has an online store of their own (although the shipping is pricey!). Whatever brand you are able to find/buy, make sure to pay attention to the size of the bag to make sure you are using the correct amount for the recipe. For example, where I grew up (Indiana), my preferred brands were Jay’s and Mikesells. However, the brand I have available to me now is Chester’s. However, the Chester’s bag is exactly half the size of the brands I used to use in Indiana, so I have to buy twice as many to make the same amount.
      I hope that helps!

  15. Amazing!! I just keep making it. Thank you thank you thank you!

  16. Gentry says:

    Do you keep the lid off while cooking?

    • MacSuzie says:

      Definitely lid off. Also, be mindful of the size of pan you use and keep an eye on the heat to make sure it doesn’t bubble over. Hope that helps!

  17. Michelle says:

    What is the brand of corn puffs ?

    • MacSuzie says:

      Hi Michelle,
      There are several brands that will work for this recipe – the key is paying attention to the size of the bag to make sure you are using the correct amount for the recipe. For example, where I grew up (Indiana), my preferred brands are Jay’s and Mikesells. However, the brand I have available to me now is Chester’s. However, the Chester’s bag is exactly half the size of the brands I used to use in Indiana, so I have to buy twice as many to make the same amount. (Luckily, Chester’s is cheap!)
      I hope that helps!

  18. Laura Connor says:

    I have made this baked caramel corn for years. I’ve just added a little twist. I’m an herbalist and love making my own herbal candy. You can infuse herbs in with the melted butter before you start the caramel process. Just strain it out very well. The flavor combinations are amazing.

    • MacSuzie says:

      OH MY GOODNESS Laura, what a wonderful idea! I wish I’d have thought of that myself! In other dishes (mostly savory), I like to brown my butter and have thrown some herbs in with the butter while it browns, but it never occurred to do it for my puffs! I will have to try this and experiment with some fun flavors. Thanks so much for sharing!

  19. Rhonda Hawes says:

    Hi! I had missed place my recipe so I googled it and your recipe seems to be the most close to the one I had. I remember the first thing on the recipe and it just called for a bag of puffed corn it didn’t have what size so I came across your recipe and seen the size bag I should get. I have the brand Mike sells and it is a 5.5 oz bag I was wanting to double the recipe so I have two bags of 5.5 oz, so in order for it to turn out right should I get another bag of the 5.5 oz and I can double the Carmel or should I not double the Carmel and still use the two bags of puffs? Your help will be appreciated. Thanks on advance and happy holidays!

    • MacSuzie says:

      Hi Rhonda! When I need a little extra of this recipe for a crowd, I use 3 bags of the brand I can find locally (Chester’s) which are 3.5 ounces each (10.5 oz. total) and make 1.5 times the recipe of the caramel (basically, a half recipe of caramel per bag). In your case, 2 bags of Mikesells (my hometown favorite!) comes out to 11 oz. of puffs which is right about the same as when I make 3 bags of mine, so I recommend starting out with 1.5 times the caramel. That comes out to 3 sticks of butter, 3 cups brown sugar, 3/4 cup light corn syrup and 1.5 tsp each of baking soda and vanilla (see the notes about the salt and adjust according to your own tastes). If you feel that the puffs aren’t quite covered to your liking, go ahead and pop it in the oven for to bake for the first 15 minutes while you whip up another half batch of the recipe. When your timer goes off to stir after 15 minutes, pour the extra caramel on and stir well to cover the sparse parts. Finish baking as normal. I hope this helps!

      • Rhonda Rausch Hawes says:

        Yes very helpful. Thank you so much for the quick response. Keep up the excellent blog for I will be a continuous follower. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! What part of Indiana are you from?

        • MacSuzie says:

          You are so welcome – I’m glad that helped and I’m glad you like my site! Admittedly, since becoming a mom my blogging has taken a backseat, but I’m working toward becoming much more active again in 2017, so stay tuned! Regardless of future posts, though, my existing recipes will remain available, so no worries there. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well! (P.S. my hometown is Valparaiso, in NW Indiana)

  20. Gena says:

    AMAZING! Followed the recipe to the T. I will make this alot for my daughter and her friends! Thank you =)

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