Let me introduce you to Rice Krispies treats on crack. Or steroids. Pick your poison. These are insanely, dangerously addictive. There aren’t even any Rice Krispies in them. Instead, we have a mixture of popcorn, pretzels and peanuts. And you know the whole butter and marshmallow mixture that traditionally binds everything together? Forget about it. How about marshmallows mixed with salted caramel? It’s the ultimate sweet and salty snack bar. It’s Rice Krispies treats meet Cracker Jacks. And this hybrid beats them both. I think I’m still in awe of how delicious this creation is. Also, have I mentioned how much I adore salted caramel? I currently want to put it on everything.
Here you go, the sweet and salty lineup.
We have salted caramel, popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, and another healthy dose of kosher salt. Sweet and salty heaven. I could bathe in this stuff!
Now, for the popcorn you’re going to want to either pop your own or use a “homestyle” version – absolutely no added butter or flavorings, or it would just taste weird. I was planning on popping my own and then happened to see this while perusing the chip and pretzel aisle. If you can find something similar, then I would totally rock the microwave. One bag of this stuffed popped up almost exactly 12 cups of popcorn. Score!
The bars are pretty much made exactly like typical Rice Krispies treats. Only instead of melting butter, you make a salted caramel sauce, then stir in the marshmallows until melted. Pour it over all of the salted goodies (popcorn, pretzels and peanuts), mix it up, and press it into your pan. Let it cool and set up, cut it into bars, and then dive right into heaven.
Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
Toss together the popcorn, pretzels and peanuts in a large bowl; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil, without stirring, until the mixture reaches an amber color, about 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream (the mixture will bubble up and sputter). Immediately add the marshmallows and stir until melted.
Pour the salted caramel mixture over the popcorn, pretzel and peanut mixture and quickly stir together with a rubber spatula (I find that spraying the spatula with nonstick cooking spray makes this easier) until all of the popcorn, pretzels and peanuts are coated with the caramel mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared 9x13-inch pan. Spray a small piece of wax paper with nonstick cooking spray and use to press mixture evenly into pan. Sprinkle with some additional kosher. Cool completely and then cut into bars. These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.