Christmas Moose Munch is a crunchy golden caramel candy popcorn snack mixed with toffee, pecans, nuts, chocolate covered caramel candy, and chocolate drizzle. An easy fool-proof method to making perfect praline caramel candy sauce every time with Tony Chachere’s Praline Honey Ham Injectable Marinade on the stovetop. A delightfully sweet and salty gourmet Christmas snack steeped in decades of holiday tradition.
There is no comparison to a Christmas tradition like Moose Munch. My mom always made her own caramel candy corn and packaged them in holiday tins with a variety of other homemade desserts like cookies, fudge, turtles, toffee peanut brittle, truffles, and candied nuts. In exchange, we’d get an assortment of Christmas desserts and tins through the mail from distant relatives across the country. The week before Christmas, our kitchen was stocked with goodies. Mom made an extra tin or two for us to snack on throughout Christmas vacation. To this day, I can still remember the joy of opening the top of the lid to be greeted with a delightfully sweet scent of what I call “Christmas cookie butter”.
The holiday season is a busy time of year with school plays, countless family, friends, and work Christmas parties, traveling, shopping, making DIY Christmas crafts with the kids, baking, and taking part in traditional family celebrations. Add in the fact that Thanksgiving Day is late in the month of November this year which means that Christmas Day is less than three weeks away. When it comes to hosting our annual Christmas party, I go all out. I use only the best ingredients when planning out my Christmas dessert trays and party treats.
Moose Munch Mix
Caramel corn is a divine confection made of popcorn coated in a caramel candy shell. The praline brown sugar molasses and honey syrup I use is heated until it boils and becomes thick. The caramelized candy syrup glaze is then softened with baking soda which resembles nougat before being tossed with a trail mix of popcorn and nuts and baked until the caramel sets and is no longer sticky.
What makes Moose Munch special is the combination of caramel corn and mini chocolate caramel candy pieces. Each bite is stuffed with delicious sweet caramel-y butter flavor, salty popcorn, chewy toffee, and delicious holiday candy.
When I was a child, Christmas baking was an event in my family. Often times it was my parents, sister, brother and I who would bake and decorate desserts all week in preparation for our numerous holiday parties. We all had a favorite cookie to eat, but this recipe is the favorite for my father and sister. It’s funny how recipes can hold such fond memories.
What’s in Moose Munch?
- Popcorn: I buy a big bag of popped popcorn at the store.
- Butter: Important for a chewy caramel texture.
- Tony Chachere’s Praline Honey Ham Injectable Marinade: A rich brown sugar molasses syrup that results in the perfect caramel sauce. A fool-proof method for making a quick caramel recipe.
- Baking Soda: Reacts to the acid and creates air bubbles that result in chewy caramel candy.
- Nuts: Adds a rich nutty flavor and additional crunch that defines classic snack mixes. Use a variety of your favorite nuts. I like pecans and peanuts but almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pine nuts work, too.
- Toffee: Pick up a bag of toffee bits next to the chocolate chips. These premium little candy pieces are packed with crunchy almonds and English toffee flavor. If you’re in the south, swap it out for crushed pralines.
- Candy: Bite-size candy pieces are a must in Moose Munch. Don’t skimp on this delicious addition. The combination of soft and chewy chocolate-covered caramel candy and crisp caramel corn can not be ignored. Your guests will devour this snack mix combination. Trust me.
Easy Fool-Proof Caramel Sauce
Did you know you can take Tony Chachere’s Praline Honey Ham Injectable Marinade and boil it into caramel? This candy hack means you don’t have to worry about getting the exact portions of the caramel ingredients right in order to make heavenly old-fashioned caramel corn this holiday season.
Making homemade caramel sauce can be tricky, especially if you’ve never done it before. In fact, it’s way too easy to burn the sugars and it’s the last thing anyone needs to worry about during the busy winter season. I’ve created a fuss-free way to make caramel candy corn using Tony Chachere’s Praline Honey Ham Injectable Marinade. This star ingredient has a deliciously warm aroma and a deeply flavored caramel taste and color once it’s cooked down. Skip all the extra ingredients and pick up a bottle at the grocery store.
- Melt butter. Pour in syrup and bring to a boil. Heat to roughly 230°F using a food-safe thermometer or simply boil for several minutes. Remove from heat to check for a thickened reduced sticky mixture.
- Stir in baking soda. The sauce will expand with air bubbles and turn a light brown color.
- Pour caramel over the popcorn and nut mix. Toss together until everything is coated well.
- Spread into a prepared baking sheet. Bake at 250°F for 45 minutes to one hour tossing the mixture every 15 minutes.
- Break apart the candy corn. Stir in mini candies and toffee then drizzle in melted chocolate.
Moose Munch Tips & Questions:
Where can I find Tony Chachere’s Praline Honey Ham Injectable Marinade? At your local grocery store in the marinades aisle. Be sure to check the end caps where popular holiday ingredients are displayed or simply stock up and buy it here.
How do I know when the caramel sauce is done? Use a kitchen thermometer to ensure the caramel syrup reaches 230°F. The caramel should come to a boil for several minutes. In order to create a candy shell, the syrup sugar needs to reach this temperature. Be sure not to go above 240°F as the caramel flavor will otherwise taste burnt.
How do I store Moose Munch? Store the caramel corn in an air-tight container in the pantry. The gourmet candy popcorn will keep up to 3 months. Note that improperly storing the candy corn or allowing any exposure to humidity will drastically alter the texture of the snack mix.
Can I re-crisp caramel corn? To turn soggy or stale caramel corn crunchy, line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease the sheet with cooking spray and place it in a 250-275°F oven for 10 minutes. Allow mixture to cool. Repeat baking if the mixture is not crunchy within several minutes of cooling. Be sure to remove any chocolate candies beforehand.
An essential homemade gourmet Christmas snack mix for the holiday season.
CHRISTMAS HOSTING TIP: PACKAGE GOURMET PRALINE MOOSE MUNCH IN HOLIDAY TINS AND SEND THEM HOME WITH GUESTS AFTER YOUR PARTY.
Moose Munch Christmas Snack Mix
- 1 ⅓ cup Tony Chachere's Praline Honey Ham Injectable Marinade
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 8½ cups popped popcorn
- ¾ cup unsalted peanuts
- ¾ cup pecans
- 2 cups chocolate covered caramels
- ¼ cup toffee baking bits
- ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and Tony Chachere's Praline Honey Ham Injectable Marinade. Bring to a boil. Cook until mixture reaches 230°F and sauce is thickened; about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together popped popcorn, nuts, and pecans.
- Pour caramel sauce over the mixture and stir to coat well.
- Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease paper with cooking spray.
- Evenly spread caramel corn in pan.
- Place pan in 250°F oven and bake for 45 minutes, stirring the mixture every 15 minutes.
- Remove Pan from oven, allow to cool; about 5 minutes.
- Break apart caramel corn.
- Evenly spread chocolate candy and toffee bits across the pan.
- Melt chocolate in the microwave for 4-6 minutes on power level 3.
- Place melted chocolate into a storage bag. Cut the tip off the end and drizzle chocolate across the pan.
- Allow mixture to cool. Store in an air-tight storage bag.
Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.
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