Reindeer Crunch!

Okay, so if you are still looking around for one more holiday treat to make, this might be it.  The title of this recipe is Reindeer Crunch, and when I mentioned that I would be making it, one of my vigilant Facebook readers asked if I would be using real reindeer.

Nope.  No reindeer were harmed in the making of this recipe.  No deer of ANY kind were involved in the making of this recipe, even though I have flocks of them living in my yard.  (Flocks?  Herds?  Gaggles?  Whatever the right phrase is for lots and lots of deer…that’s what I’ve got.  It’s gotten so that they will now pose for the camera.)

Anyway, I’m guessing reindeer might like to actually crunch some of this stuff, because it is made with popcorn and mixed nuts that have been coated in a brown sugar glaze, baked, and then drizzled with melted chocolate.

I now have to go on a brief rant about melting chocolate.  I seem to be completely incapable of melting chocolate without having it seize up (which means, having it melt and then instantaneously transform into a totally unusable clod of solid, grainy chocolate mess).  I’ve tried everything…the microwave at the defrost setting, melting it carefully over a double boiler…for some reason, it just won’t work for me.  So thank goodness for candy melts, which are somehow made in a way that is especially designed for melting.  You can get them in bags of all different colors at Michael’s craft stores, or you can find them by clicking here.  I always keep a bag of them on hand just for moments like this when I NEED to make things like reindeer crunch.  But if you are good at melting chocolate, go ahead and use regular chocolate chips, and please tell me your secret.

Anyway, that’s my Reindeer Crunch tale…be careful with this stuff.  It’s impossible to take just one bite!



Reindeer Crunch!
  • 12 cups plain popped popcorn
  • 1½ cups salted mixed nuts
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips or chocolate candy melts
  1. Preheat over to 250.
  2. Combine popcorn and nuts in large bowl
  3. Melt butter in medium heavy saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring now and then. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Working quickly and carefully (sugar mixture is super-hot!), pour sugar mixture over popcorn and nuts. Stir with a wooden spoon until coated.
  5. Spread mixture in a single layer on two lightly greased two baking pans. Bake at 250 for 30 minutes, stirring once.
  6. Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes and break into chunks.
  7. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (if you use the microwave, melt on 50% power for 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds until melted). Drizzle melted chocolate over popcorn.
  8. Cool until chocolate hardens (this goes faster in the fridge.) Store in airtight container


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  1. Marisa says

    My chocolate only seizes if there is water in the bowl somewhere. The tiniest droplet will ruin the whole batch of chocolate. Just like fat with egg whites, water and chocolate do not mix. Hope that helps!

  2. Joanne says

    Hmm my only secret is stir the whole time! Sometimes adding a hint of oil helps also!

    I would not be allowed to be alone with this crunch. Because by crunch…I think you actually mean crack.

  3. onceuponarecipe says

    This looks SO good!
    My "secret" for melting chocolate is to use a double boiler, and once things start melting, stir, stir, stir…

  4. Wendy says

    Stir one tablespoon into a 12oz bag of chocolate chips, stirring well to coat all chips. Microwave in a glass dish (at regular setting) for 10-15 seconds, remove and stir, and repeat until all chips are melted. No scorching, no seizing. Happy drizzling! :)

  5. Catherine N. says

    I use a double boiler, and the minute the water starts simmering, I turn the heat off. And let the chips sit over the hot water.

  6. Nancy says

    What did i do wrong. I followed the directions and the recipe amounts but it seemed there wasn’t enough of the carmelized ingredient to cover the popcorn and nuts. Also my chocolate never hardened so when I tried to break it up the nuts fell off and the chocolate was sticky.

    • Kate says

      Oh dear! Sounds like you have fluffier popcorn than I do…sounds like you should reduce the popcorn amount by a couple of cups. As for the chocolate, if you leave it in the fridge for an hour or too, the temperature should harden it right up. Hope this helps! :)

  7. Mike says

    I like to melt the chocolate truffles in a double boiler or melt butter with chocolate chips – great choclate melt evertytime

    • Kate says

      Oh gosh – that’s a tough one. I’d say 6-8? But honestly, this stuff is addictive! A few people could definitely polish this off if you leave them unattended. :)

      • Julie says

        Has anyone ever tried to drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn/nuts BEFORE breaking it into chunks?

        Thoughts on this? I will be trying this recipe on Friday. :)

        • says

          I did that last year – the only downfall is the warmth of your hands can melt and moosh the chocolate. But then you have some awesome deliciousness to lick off your hands when you’re done, so I thought it was a win ;P

  8. Janet says

    I melt all my chocolates in my mini-crockpot. Keeps them soft while I work on the dipping. Warm setting works best without burning

  9. says

    I don’t know if anyone has said this already, but chocolate chips are coated in a waxy substance so they don’t stick together in the bag – making them more likely to get clumpy and gross. At least that’s what I’ve been told 😉 Thanks for the recipe – it’s delicious!!! I’ve actually used the brown sugar glaze as the “toffee” for Saltine cracker toffees, too – really REALLY good 😀

  10. Denise says

    Try using a few paraffin chips/flakes in a double boiler. It will keep the chocolate smooth and glossy. You can buy these at cake and candy making supply stores.

  11. Doug says

    Awesome . . . If not addicting recipe. . And Very versatile. I only used ¼ of the popcorn, added 2 – 170 gram bags of caramel popcorn (sugar on sugar 😉 used a deluxe mix of nuts and added a box of Rice Chex for that crunch factor. I also used a Demerma style brown sugar for a richer candied flavor.


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