Sunday, September 2, 2018

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Touchdown Popcorn Toffee Bark #gameday #fingerfood #sweetandsalty

I am SO EXCITED that the NFL season starts next weekend! Although the Astros are heading toward the MLB playoffs, we're also HUGE Houston Texans fans -- so game day each week finds us in front of the TV watching the game...and noshing on yummy food! I typically focus on spicy, savory appetizers for game day...but everyone loves a simple, fun sweet treat too! When I saw a recipe for a quick graham cracker-based toffee bar in Bon Appetit, it immediately caught my eye. I tweaked their recipe a bit to create my addicting Touchdown Popcorn Toffee Bark.

A crunchy graham cracker base is topped with popcorn and other toppings. Then, a homemade salted vanilla-cinnamon toffee is poured over the top. After baking for a few minutes in the oven, the baked toffee is topped with a generous amount of semisweet and white chocolate chunks. After the bark cools, it's broken into pieces to serve. I guarantee this sweet-salty snack will score a touchdown with your hungry friends and family on game one is ever able to eat just one piece!

Touchdown Popcorn Toffee Bark
adapted from Bon Appetit 
Ingredients (serves 6-8 people):
  • Approximately 15 sheets of honey graham crackers
  • 4 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup honey-nut oat cereal
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate pieces
For the salted toffee:
  • 3 sticks salted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray. Line the baking sheet with the graham crackers, breaking them up as necessary to completely fill the pan. Top the graham crackers with the popcorn, then sprinkle evenly with the honey-nut oat cereal and pecans. Set aside while you make the toffee.
Step 2: Make the toffee. Add the butter, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and cinnamon to a large non-stick saucepan over med-high heat. When the butter has melted and the contents begin to boil, stir once to combine. Lower the heat to med-low and simmer the mixture for 8-10 minutes, swirling the saucepan every couple of minutes. The toffee should be golden-brown and syrupy after 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and give the toffee a good stir. 
Step 3: Carefully pour the hot toffee over the prepared ingredients in the baking sheet, evenly from edge to edge. Bake the bark for 10-12 minutes, until the toffee is bubbly and has become deeper in color. Remove the baking sheet from oven. Immediately top the baked bark with the semisweet and white chocolate pieces. 
Step 4: To accelerate the cooling process, place the rimmed baking sheet in the fridge for 1 hour. To serve, simply break the completely cooled bark into pieces and place them on a serving platter. This bark is quite rich, so don't make the pieces too large -- two-to-three bites per piece is perfect!
This salty-sweet treat is insanely good! As'll likely find yourself stopping to sneak "one more bite" more than once during the game. The graham cracker base, popcorn, cereal, and nuts are covered by the salty cinnamon-infused toffee. The addition of chocolate takes it right over the top. To emphasize the salty flavor component of this bark, substitute coarsely crushed pretzels for all or some of the honey-nut oat cereal! This bark can be made up to 3 days ahead of game day -- be sure to store the bark in an airtight container until kickoff!

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