I tried something this evening that most people probably haven’t tried. I’m one of those people who enjoys eating caramel popcorn and cheese popcorn at the same time. I absolutely love salty and sweet combinations. Dipping French fries into chocolate shakes? That’s me. Chocolate and pretzels? That’s me. Potato chips and chocolate? That’s me. I am nuts for those combinations.
If you saw my Chocolate Silken Mousse, then you might believe I’m on the fast train to Crazyville, USA. Who puts tofu with chocolate and makes a dessert? I do, and it was delicious. It may be a little crazy for some people to even try though. But my new recipe is about to get even crazier.
Playing off of the love for combining cheddar cheese popcorn and caramel corn appears this recipe: Caramel Cheetos. Don’t shut down this recipe just yet! I have to tell you, it is amazing. I am talking about unbelievably tasty. Caramel Cheetos have a sweet, crunchy shell on the outside and the crunch of the Cheetos on the inside. This is a sweet and salty combination that is irresistible. I don’t know if you will be able to stop eating these if you enjoy the sweet and salty combo like I do.
The first step is to place some Baked Crunchy Cheetos into a large bowl. I opted for the baked version because they are lower calorie. You can definitely use the original version. I would stick to the crunchy style because I have not tested this recipe on the puffed style. Next, in a large pot, stir the margarine, brown sugar, and light corn syrup together over medium-high heat. Once the mixture is melted together, bring it to a boil over high heat. Once it starts boiling, stir continuously for 5 minutes (see Helpful tips).
After stirring for 5 minutes, remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the baking soda until the caramel is light in color and a little foamy. Once baking soda is stirred in, pour the caramel over the Cheetos. Stir the Cheetos so that all the pieces are coated with caramel.
Once coated, pour the Cheetos onto an ungreased jelly roll pan or roasting pan. Spread out the Cheetos so the entire pan is covered completely. Bake the Cheetos for 1 hour, but stir them every 15 minutes. This is to prevent the caramel from burning the Cheetos. Once the caramel Cheetos have baked for an hour, remove them from the oven and spread them out on non-stick parchment paper to let them cool. Once they have cooled, which doesn’t take very long, break them up into however you would like. Most of my caramel Cheetos were not stuck together, so it was like eating regular Cheetos one by one!
This snack is one that will get people talking. Adventurous people will be the first to try it. Once they start raving about the deliciousness, the skeptics will start to taste it. Then it will be a full-blown love fest for the Caramel Cheetos. That is, if you can bear to share these. I promise the cheese flavor is not overwhelming or super obvious. People may not even suspect there are actually Cheetos under the caramel. These are sweeter with just a slight bit of salty. Also, you won’t get orange fingers from the Cheetos, so that alone is a win. I made a half batch to test out this recipe, and it was a success. This is a surprising snack that won’t disappoint a lover of salty and sweet.
Total calories: 5,520
Servings:20+ (Depends on how big of servings you’d like)
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 cup margarine (I used light margarine)
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1- 20.5 oz. package Baked Crunchy Cheetos
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Pour Cheetos into a large bowl. In a large pot on the stove, stir sugar, margarine (or butter), and corn syrup on medium-high heat until mixture is smooth.
- Bring mixture to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Stir until caramel turns a light color and is slightly foamy.
- Pour caramel over Cheetos and stir, coating each piece.
- Place Cheetos onto a large jelly roll or roasting pan. I used a 15×10 jelly roll pan. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- After an hour, remove from oven and spread out into a single layer on some non-stick parchment paper. Break into as many pieces as you’d like once it has started to cool. Store in container or sealable plastic bag.
If your stove top gets extremely hot, you can boil your caramel for less than 5 minutes. Since the caramel continues to bake in the oven, you do not have to worry as much if you undercook the caramel. The goal is not to overcook it or burn it. So if you are nervous, boil for 2-3 minutes instead. You can also spread the caramel Cheetos on aluminum foil instead of parchment paper.
20.5 oz. Regular Crunchy Cheetos for 20.5 oz. Baked Crunchy Cheetos
1 cup butter for 1 cup margarine