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Sweet gingerbread-flavored caramel corn and salty pretzels make a perfect holiday snack mix!
1. Preheat the oven to 250 F.
2. Put a very large pot over a medium heat, and add the oil and popcorn. Put a lid on the pot, with a small gap so that steam can escape. Pop the corn until there are a few seconds between pops, and it sounds like they are mostly cooked.
3. Dump the popped corn into a large sheet pan and remove any un-popped kernels. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Add the pretzels and toss to combine everything.
4. In a tiny bowl, mix the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla together so that the soda and spices are mostly dissolved. Set aside.
5. In the same pot that you made the popcorn in, over medium heat, add the butter, sugar, corn syrup, molasses and salt together. Let them melt and come to a boil, and continue to stir them for about 10 minutes or until the caramel is bubbling and dark amber colored.
6. Pull the pot off of the heat, and quickly stir in the vanilla and baking soda mixture. The caramel should get very light and frothy. Then immediately pour the popcorn and pretzels into the caramel, and gently fold the caramel into the corn and pretzels to try to coat it.
7. Transfer the popcorn to sheet pans (I divided it between 2). Put the sheet pans in the preheated oven (250 F), and bake the popcorn for about 15 minutes. Then remove the pans from the oven and gently stir the popcorn into the melting caramel until the popcorn is better coated. Repeat this again after another 15 minutes, after which the popcorn should be quite evenly coated. Then bake for a final 15 minutes, and then remove from the oven. Give the corn one final stir to coat the popcorn. Allow corn to cool on the baking sheets.
8. When the popcorn is totally cool, it will have a nice, thin, crispy coating. Store in airtight containers.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!