Monday, August 29, 2011

Homemade Cracker Jack

I didn't eat much of the childhood favorite, Cracker Jacks. I don't know why, but I just wasn't in to the boxed popcorn stuff. Even the prize you get from the Cracker Jacks box didn't appeal to me. It took me a while to even start liking the popcorn you buy that came in those large tin containers. You know, the ones they normally sell during the holidays. To me, they were just plain stale. I like freshly made popcorn. Whether it be fresh buttered popcorn or freshly made caramel corn. They have to be fresh.

My daughter has been asking me to make some popcorn snacks recently and so I decided to give this recipe a try from the Brown Eyed Baker. I've never made caramel corn before. And it was quite easy and yummy.

10 cups freshly popped plain popcorn
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup light corn syrup
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup lightly salted peanuts

1) Preheat oven to 250 deg F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2) Coat a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray and pour popcorn in the bowl.

3) In a small saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, water and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer, stirring often, until mixture reaches 250 deg F, about 3-5 minutes.

4) Remove caramel from heat. Whisk in vanilla extract and baking soda. Immediately pour caramel onto popcorn. Add peanuts. Gently fold mixture using a rubber spatula until everything is coated with the caramel. Transfer mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread out. Bake for 1 hour, stirring the mixture every 20 minutes.

5) Cool popcorn on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Gently break up the popcorn. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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