This Chicharrones Chips post was sponsored by Juicy Juice. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.
In our house we’re always mixing the old and the new, the authentic with the inauthentic, or in this case, the old with the old to create something completely new!
This Chicharrones Chips and Caramel Corn snack mix is like Armando’s and my childhood dreams colliding in one big bowl and then I threw in some nuts—basically how our kids were created. More or less.
You see, chicharrones chips are the Mexican snack that every abuela and street vendor makes specifically to calm and appease hungry children.
Caramel corn? Well that was my childhood snack of choice and this specific recipe is based on my mom’s particular blend of sugar and crunch, so it’s only natural that together they make the perfect sweet and salty, irresistible snack mix.
I was inspired to share the mix of these two flavors for Juicy Juice as a part of their Flavorful Fun initiative which is helping get kids interested in trying new foods.
(You might remember the Pot Roast Chicken Mole and Veggies recipe I made a few months back as part of the same program.)
Juicy Juice is working with chefs and food bloggers all over the country to help families discover a new world of flavor and encourage kids to expand their tastes, something I support 110%.
What Are Chicharron Chips?
Chicharron de harina go by many different names, they are also commonly called Duritos.
They are wheat crisps that you buy dried in wheel shapes or sometimes ridged rectangles and fry into ultra light, crispy puffs then squeeze a lime wedge over the top and a few glugs of hot sauce or a sprinkling of chili.
How To Make Healthier Caramel Corn
My mom’s original caramel corn recipe is divine (remind me to post it here for you) but it is not the healthiest thing on the planet.
In this recipe I’ve lowered the butter and brown sugar amounts and replaced the honey with 100% Juicy Juice fruit juice.
I used their Kiwi Strawberry Juice in this recipe because I love the tart tropical flavors but you could use any of their fruit juice flavors.
It still tastes just as sweet and delicious but with a lot less sugar and fat.
Tips and Riffs
Only thing about this snack mix is it is NOT a make-ahead recipe.
- Chicharrones de harina go stale quickly so mix this up right before you serve it.
- Also, don’t skimp on the fresh-squeezed lime juice over the top, it brings all the flavors together and brightens up the whole mix.
- Lastly, the additions of salted peanuts and almonds are mere suggestions, if you like a different type of nut, go for it! Dried cranberries would be good too. Pretzels maybe? Cereal like Chex? Cacahuates Japoneses? Hot Sauce? You do your thing.
For the Caramel Corn:
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ¼ cup popcorn kernels
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup 100% Kiwi Strawberry Juicy Juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the Chicharrones de Harina:
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup uncooked Chicharrones de Harina
- For the Snack Mix
For the Snack Mix
- 1 cup honey-roasted salted peanuts
- 1 cup smoked almonds
- 1 lime
For the Caramel Corn:
- Heat oven to 250°F. Have two separate large baking pans or baking sheets and a candy thermometer ready.
- Combine vegetable oil and popcorn kernels in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cover, leaving a small gap for the steam to escape.
- Cook, shaking occasionally, until the sound of popping corn slows to a stop. Immediately pour popcorn out onto one of the baking sheets and let cool slightly, keep saucepan close by, you will use it again to make the caramel sauce.
- Go through the popcorn and pick out any kernels that didn't pop or ones that aren't fully popped. Then transfer the rest to the other baking sheet.
- In the same saucepan, attach a candy thermometer to the side and melt the butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, juice, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Continue to boil until the temperature on the thermometer reaches soft boil stage, or 235°F, about 8 minutes.
- Carefully pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir to coat. Spread out into a single layer and transfer to the oven.
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Lay a large sheet of foil or parchment paper on the counter and turn the caramel corn out onto the foil to cool.
For the Chicharrones de Harina:
- Have a baking sheet lined with paper towels ready. Heat oil in a deep pot or Dutch oven to 350°F. Add half the chicharrones and fry, gently stirring so they cook evenly. When they are opened and cooked through (about 1 minute), remove with a bamboo skimmer or slotted spoon to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicharrones.
For the Snack Mix:
- Toss caramel corn, chicharrones, peanuts, and almonds together in a large bowl. Squeeze lime juice over everything and serve immediately.
If you don't want to make your own popcorn, use 4 generous cups of store-bought popcorn instead.
The Chicharrones go stale really quickly so eat immediately after making.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
What kinds of flavorful fun do your kids like? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear about your adventurous eaters!
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