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A recipe for Cheddar and Caramel Popcorn Mix. Cheddar and Caramel Popcorn Mix recipe. Hi all! So today we have another great edible holiday gift to give out this holiday season. It’s a mix of cheddar and caramel popcorn. This is inspired from this great place called Garrett’s Popcorn in Chicago. They have multiple locations, but it originated in Chicago…as did The Chicago Mix… The combination might sound weird, but it’s not. It’s really not. It’s totally awesome. It totally plays on the sweet and salty flavors, with the addition of nutty and cheesy…SO GOOD! I love going home for the holidays and NOT attempting to stop at a location to pick some up. I stick to ordering mine online every year…why? Because lines for Garrett Popcorn Shops are usually at least a block long. No joke. Holidays are the worst too. When I don’t feel like spending $25 on shipping for popcorn I usually go out and buy my own cheddar popcorn, make my own caramel corn and mix ’em up. Caramel corn is a lot easier to make than most might think. So try this recipe out because it’s easy, fun, tasty, and you can package it in cute jars and give them out as gifts. Enjoy!
xx Jenny

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Cheddar and Caramel Popcorn Mix
Makes 9 quarts

caramel corn:
5½ quarts popped popcorn
1 cup lightly salted peanuts
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp heavy cream
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 quarts store bought cheddar popcorn

1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
2. Pour popcorn and peanuts into a very large bowl (or two large mixing bowls and set aside.
3. Melt butter in a (medium) saucepan over medium-high heat.
4. Stir in the sugar, corn syrup and salt until fully incorporated.
5. Bring mixture to a boil, frequently stirring.
6. Once mixture has come to a boil stop stirring and continue to boil for about 5 minutes.
7. Remove saucepan from heat and carefully stir in baking soda (the mixture will vigorously boil).
8. Stir in the cream and vanilla and pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn. Fold together until mostly combined.
9. Evenly spread the caramel popcorn onto two parchment lined baking sheets, in a single layer.
10. Bake for about an hour, removing the mixture from the oven every 15 minutes to stir.
11. Allow caramel corn to cool completely before breaking up into pieces.
12. Toss together with cheddar popcorn until fully combined. Serve.


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  1. Anna Not Specified Not Specified

    This looks so good! The Pirate’s Booty I’m snacking on is all of sudden not what I want anymore… I want to make this!

  2. Bev Weidner Not Specified Not Specified

    Oh dear GOD, I love that you combined cheese with sweets. Yes, yes yes. Doing THIS.

  3. Alexis Not Specified Not Specified

    Every time I stop in Chicago, I always get some. But the Garretts at the airport, NEVER A LONG LINE! NOTE TO SELF! Go there instead of the one in the city, or even the one at Navy Pier (no one is ever there either). So grab a hand of that greasy goodness and enjoy!

  4. Brianna Not Specified Not Specified

    Oh man, this stuff is amazing. Fortunately, there’s a local shop that makes it so that I don’t have to make the drive from Minneapolis to Chicago (or pay for shipping). Even so, it’s pretty pricey stuff, so I’m excited for this recipe!

    One question: What happens with the peanuts?

    • Jenny Park Not Specified Not Specified

      Hi Brianna! Thanks for catching that error….I forgot to include them in the direction! It’s all fixed now. You add the peanuts to the bowl of popcorn before you add the caramel sauce. Glad you’re excited about this one :) xx

  5. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar Not Specified Not Specified

    Neat combo! Would love to try this!

  6. Katie @ Livehalffull Not Specified Not Specified

    This is so amazing! Also really dangerous! Garrett’s is so good-my suggestion is go to the one in the Merchandise Mart. There is never a line! Although it’s only open M-F.

  7. blythe @ 75th + Sedgwick Not Specified Not Specified

    Incredible. I love Garret’s Popcorn! When I first saw the photo though I was equally as excited about it because it reminded me of those amazing popcorn buckets from the drug store! I LOVE those! :)

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  9. Pafka Not Specified Not Specified

    Mmmm… something just right for me, it looks wonderful!

    I have to give this recipe to my wife ;-)

  10. Michelle Not Specified Not Specified

    Oh. My. God. I just found your blog (thanks pinterest!) and then I found this and I almost fell over. I LOVE Garrett’s popcorn. I crave it. I may or may not have done a little dance when I found it in the airport over Thanksgiving at O’Hare. You have a new fan here!

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  12. Celia Not Specified Not Specified

    Sorry, when do you add the cream? I must be going insane!

    • Jenny Park Not Specified Not Specified

      Nope, you’re not! I forgot to add it to the instructions, but it’s there now! You add it to the caramel sauce, right as you’re adding the vanilla. Sorry about that…enjoy!

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  14. Amanda Not Specified Not Specified

    I’ve been missing this popcorn since I moved to Austin, TX from Chicago! The good news is that a lot of cities now have boutique-style popcorn shops who love mixing me a bag of Chicago mix!

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  22. Bea Adorable Not Specified Not Specified

    What are the utensils needed?