What are Reindeer Munchies you may ask? They’re a fun take on classic caramel corn that’s drizzled with melted chocolate and sprinkled with toffee bits. It’s such a mouthwatering snack to make and nibble on during the Christmas season but, the appeal actually lasts far beyond Christmas. Serve them at your holiday parties, give tins as gifts or make a batch any time of year you need a nostalgic sweet treat.
Easy Reindeer Munchies Recipe
This chocolate drizzled caramel corn was inspired by the famous gourmet popcorn at Harry David’s.; I developed this homemade version by adapting my caramel corn recipe and adding some of our favorite decadent toppings. My reindeer munchies consist of kicked-up peanut caramel popcorn topped with toffee bits, a generous drizzle of warm melted chocolate deliciousness and a sprinkle of sea salt. What reindeer wouldn’t enjoy that on Christmas Eve, right? How to make popcorn Reindeer Munchies:
- For the Caramel Popcorn – Salted popped popcorn, salted cocktail peanuts, butter, light brown sugar, light corn syrup, salt, baking soda and vanilla extract.
- Chocolate Drizzle – Milk chocolate chips and solid vegetable shortening or heavy cream.
- Toppings – English toffee bits and sea salt.
How to Make the Best Reindeer Munchies Recipe
- Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Reindeer Munchies: 4 quarts lightly salted popcorn, cocktail peanuts, butter, light brown sugar, light corn syrup, salt, baking soda and vanilla extract.
- To make the chocolate ganache to drizzle on top you’ll need: Milk chocolate baking chips, solid vegetable shortening, toffee bits (bits-o-brickle) and sea salt.
- Kitchen tools you’ll need: A large saucepan, large rimmed baking pans or disposable aluminum pans, A large spoon or heat resistant rubber spatula for stirring, measuring cups and spoons, a medium microwave safe bowl.
- How do you make caramel corn? First begin by popping your popcorn or use a quality store bought brand. Pick over removing any unpopped corn kernels. Next, in a heavy bottomed saucepan melt together the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup cooking for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat adding vanilla and baking soda. Be careful it will foam up! Pour over the popcorn (already placed in pans) and into a 250°F oven. Stir every 15 minutes roasting for 1 hour then pour out onto wax paper to cool. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave then drizzle on top. Sprinkle with toffee bits and sea salt while the chocolate is wet.
- Make sure you begin with a large pot to avoid the hot caramel from bubbling over once you add the baking soda. It will naturally foam up and need room to grow.
- Why use vegetable shortening? It’s used to thin the chocolate plus it’s stable at room temperature.
- Store Reindeer Munchies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.
More Seasonal Cookies Candy and Sweet Treats to Make
We all know the holiday season is filled with celebrations and at each you may find a variety of cookies, candies, cakes, drinks and more for indulging.
- Kids of all ages love these Gingerbread Cupcakes.
- These sweet and salty Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Ritz Crackers are an oldie but goodie.
- These little Pecan Tassies are impossible to resist.
- This festive Cornflake Wreath is made in a bundt pan.
- Cranberry Christmas Cake is filled with fresh cranberries and white chocolate.
- White Chocolate Snack Mix is always a hit at the holidays.
- Cutout Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are a fun family craft for the holidays.
- Christmas Cake Pops from BHG.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- For the caramel popcorn:
- 4 quarts lightly salted popped popcorn [around 16 cups]
- 2/3 cup salted cocktail peanuts [or your favorite nut]
- 3/4 cup butter [1 1/2 sticks]
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- For the topping:
- 1  oz pkg milk chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsp solid vegetable shortening [or 1/4 cup heavy cream]
- 1/3 cup English toffee bits
- sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Spray 1 large, deep roasting pan with cooking spray. [ I used a disposable turkey roasting pan for easy clean-up]
- Pour the popcorn into the baking pan.
- Pick over the popcorn removing any loose unpopped kernels. Sprinkle the peanuts on top. Set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt together the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.
- Stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil, then immediately lower the heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Set a timer for this step. There’s no need to stir it constantly, however, you should give it a good stir periodically to keep the caramel from sticking to the bottom.
- After 5 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the baking soda, stirring constantly. The baking soda will cause the mixture to foam. Continue to stir until the foam begins to die down, then add 1 tsp of vanilla.
- Pour the warm caramel over the popcorn and stir well. The popcorn won’t be perfectly coated at this stage.
- Place the pan into the oven and bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.
- Cover the counter with wax paper.
- After 1 hour, spread the caramel corn onto the wax paper to cool completely.
- To make the chocolate drizzle: Melt together the milk chocolate chips and shortening. You can do this in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler. [See cook’s note] To melt in the microwave, heat in 20 second increments stopping to stir each time. Repeat until the chocolate is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. The shortening will give a more crunchy texture to the chocolate once hardened. If you prefer, you may use heavy cream in place of the vegetable shortening. It will lend a softer texture to the chocolate, and will take a bit longer to set-up. Use approximately 1/4 cup.
- Drizzle the warm chocolate over the popcorn. Immediately sprinkle with the toffee bits and sea salt to your taste.
- Allow to set-up for 1 hour or until dry. Carefully separate into clusters.
- Store tightly sealed at room temperature.