When Halloween rolls around I spend about as much time finding SPOOKY Halloween treats as I do finding costume ideas. With all the class parties, neighborhood parties, church parties, kid parties… holy cow, so many parties… it gives me plenty of opportunities to be a little wacky and wild with my party food. Like this Graveyard Caramel Crunch!
Halloween treats can look downright disgusting, severed witches fingers, for example. (Fun for the tweenagers, but terrifying for the preschoolers.) And some treats look cool but taste nasty. This year I started with one of my favorite party snacks- Caramel… Pretzel… Chocolate… Stuff… I have no idea what its called. Anyway, I die over the stuff so I thought it would be fun to take my favorite treat and add a little Halloween charm. Boom!
The saltiness of the pretzels are perfect with the yummy caramel goodness.
This particular caramel recipe can be used for caramel apples or dipped pretzel sticks. It’s not too much work and tastes so much better than unwrapping and melting a bunch of packaged caramels.
**Ok, here’s the sitch with the candy thermometer. You don’t want to overcook the caramel. I’d rather it be a little softer so it’s easier to eat. But here’s what you should know. The actual “hard ball” stage will be different for every altitude. The range can be anywhere from 1-10 degrees depending on where you live. Boil a pot of water and take note of the temp using your candy thermometer. My water boiled at 205 degrees and I’m at about 6000 feet. Water boils at 212 degrees at sea level. I took this temperature and subtracted it from 212, giving me a -7 difference. The recipe called for 248 degrees (typical hard ball stage). I subtracted 7 and pulled my caramel off the heat at 241, maybe a little before to be safe.
Pour the caramel and melted chocolate over the pretzels. It will fill two cookie sheets, giving you plenty to serve at the class party.
Now for the fun part. Choose all sorts of spooky candies for the topping. One of the beautiful things about this world is that candy eyeballs can be purchased year-round in the grocery store baking section. (My kids will eat almost anything with a couple eyeballs on it. True story.) And check out the Halloween section at your local superstore. I found fun Halloween candies like bones, bugs, and mini skulls.
Make sure you work fast with the candies. They’ll adhere much better before the caramel and chocolate have a chance to harden.
- 1 lb. pretzels (about 12 cups)
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 cup chocolate melts)
- 2 cups assorted Halloween candies
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- Grease two baking sheets (13x18) and cover with pretzels.
- Stir together ingredients for the caramel (except the vanilla) in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium, stir constantly until the candy thermometer reads 248 degrees (firm ball stage) (adjusted for your altitude, see post for instructions.**) Remove from heat, add vanilla.
- Cool caramel for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Drizzle caramel over the pretzels. Drizzle chocolate over the caramel. Quickly add the candy. Let cool and dry, then break into chunks and serve.
Super fun, right? I hope you love the Graveyard Caramel Crunch as much as I do!
The best part of Halloween is all of the scrumptious treats! Here are a few more of our past favorites: