Thursday, August 13, 2009

Homemade Cracker Jack Popcorn

Homemade Old Fashioned Caramel Corn that taste just like Cracker Jack Popcorn. An excellent sweet and salty treat that makes the perfect homemade gift for the holidays.
Today I'm bringing you another recipe that I found on the Hillbilly Housewife. Last month I sat down and went through her site and printed off all the recipes that I wanted to try. When I first saw this recipe for Homemade Caramel Corn I noticed on the bottom that it stated this recipe is similar to Cracker Jack.  
I used to eat Cracker Jack all the time when I was a kid and it was one of my favorite treats. I'm happy to report that I have already made this recipe twice and it does taste just like Cracker Jack! This caramel corn is good with our without nuts. The first time I made it I left out the nuts, but the second time I made it I made half with nuts and it's just as good if not better.  

The funniest part about preparing this recipe was popping up the pop corn the old fashioned way in a little oil on the stove. My kids thought I was crazy when they saw me popping up the pop corn. I heated up the oil, added the popcorn and pop, pop, pop went the popcorn.. My daughter thought it was so funny that I wasn't popping it in the microwave. 
I told her this is the way it used to be cooked before they had microwaves or microwavable  popcorn. Mackenzie said what!!!!!!!!! no microwave popcorn, too funny. I mainly did this just to see the their reaction and the looks on their faces. Mackenzie's face was so priceless. Now my baby knows you can make popcorn on the stove and not just in the microwave. Let's get started on the recipe.

These are the ingredients you will need: 8 cups popped pop corn, brown sugar, margarine or butter, light corn syrup, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract and peanuts if using. 

In a 2 quart sauce pan combine the brown sugar, margarine or butter, corn syrup and salt over low heat. After the margarine melts, heat the mixture without stirring for 3 minutes.

 It should be bubbling during the 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 

Arrange the popcorn (and peanuts, if using) on a well oiled 9″ by 18″ jelly roll pan or use parchment paper. 

Quickly pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn. Gently mix to coat the popcorn evenly. You wont get all of it coated, but don't worry once it is in the oven you can check it every 5 minutes and mix it with your spatula and make sure all the popcorn is coated. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Remove the caramel corn from oven. 

Using a spatula quickly, remove the caramel corn. It can be a bit of a task scraping it off but just work fast. Break it up into pieces and serve or store in an airtight container. 

I was so amazed it tasted just like cracker jack popcorn. This would be the perfect gift for the holiday.  

Homemade Cracker Jack

8 - cups popped popcorn
1 - cup spanish or dry roasted peanuts, optional
3/4 - cup brown sugar
1/4  - cup butter or margarine
3 - tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 - teaspoon salt
1/4 - teaspoon baking soda
1/2 - teaspoon vanilla extract

Pop the popcorn and arrange on a 9 x 18 inch jelly roll pan with the peanuts (if using). Spray the pan with non stick spray or use parchment paper.

In a 2 quart sauce pan, combine the brown sugar, butter or margarine, corn syrup and salt over low heat. 

After the margarine or butter melts, bring the mixture to a boil and cook without stirring for 3 minutes. It should be bubbling during the 3 minutes. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees,

Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Quickly pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn. 

You wont get all of the popcorn coated, but don't worry once it's in the oven you can check it every 5 minutes and mix it with a spatula and make sure all the popcorn is coated. 

Gently mix to coat the popcorn evenly. Bake in a 300 F degrees for about 15 minutes. 

Using a spatula quickly, remove the caramel corn. It can be a bit of a task scraping it off but just work fast. 

Break the caramel corn into pieces and serve. This stuff is so good and wont last long , but if you do end up with leftovers, store them in a air tight container, or bag. 

adapted from: The Hillbilly Housewife

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Country Cookin' Mama said... #

Yum! I can't wait to try this!! So many good recipes, so little time!

Mary | Deep South Dish said... #

That looks perfect Tina! Love that you taught your daughter the way that popcorn "used" to be popped LOL!! I love HH website too - it's changed hands over the years but Susanne is trying to hold true to its origins. There are some great basics there for sure.

Dawn Gallop🐝 said... #

Hello I just wanted to say I love coming to your site..always a pleasure. I have so many things I wanna make. I am the mother to nine children and you always have fun recipes that we enjoy...the corn dogs..I think out one of our favs. Thanks so much for all that you do!!! Dawn

Micha @ Cookin' Mimi said... #

That's too funny. I saw an old friend of mine and her little boy today at Wal Mart and they had bought popcorn to make the old fashioned way.

I just wish my nephew was old enough for popcorn but he's just two.

CrystalsCozyKitchen said... #

I now know what I'm going to do with my corn syrup that I thought of throwing out yesterday (I don't normally use corn syrup when I cook, but bought some to make Christmas Candy). That looks delicious.
I'm also lucky because Hubby bought me an air popper for Christmas, so I won't have to do it on the stove :).

Kaitlin said... #

This looks so yummy to snack on. I've got to try it, thanks for posting it!

Heidi said... #

That's so funny! We always made out popcorn on the stove when I was growing up. The invention of the microwave has gotten the kids spoiled! I need to make this because my kids love cracker jack. They are nut fans, so I must add the nuts to ours.

Amy in Freeport NY said... #

I have to make this TODAY! xo

Keeper of the Home said... #

I have been a "HH" follower for years now. There are some pretty tasty recipes on her site. I'm glad you are spotlighting them.

~Mrs. M

Melody said... #

Great idea to put this in lunch boxes. What a fun treat. I loved Cracker Jacks! Especially the prize! :)

Susan said... #

When I was gwoing up.. We also prepared popcorn on the stove top, In an old alumnanium pan. ( then came popcporn poppers for the stove top... The came Jiffy Pop.. Then came Air Poppers... And THEN came the Microwave Ovens... LOL

Lots A Poppin...

Dorene said... #

I used to make mine this way too, until I found it was easier making it ALL in the microwave, even the caramel part..turns out great and is easy to do.

Krystal said... #

That looks awesome! I love your popcorn bowls too! i was just eying some in the penny's catalog yesterday

Sherri Murphy said... #

Looks awesome! I love cracker Jacks!

Lynn said... #

Yum, I do love Cracker Jack, homemade or store bought. Have you ever tried popcorn drizzled with chocolate? I tried that recently (after reading the suggestion on someone's blog) and it was delicious :)

Libby@CookingWithLibby said... #

That is to awesome! How cool!

Bunny said... #

I have to make this I love Cracker Jack Popcorn!!

MariaT said... #

Tina, I finally got a chance to make this popcorn this weekend. Yummy! This is definately a keeper. My husband thanks you too.


nooschi said... #

I love caramel corn. My co-worker makes this every year for Christmas and I'm looking forward to it now. The home made stuff is always the best.

Anonymous said... #

OMG school was closed , so I was off. Got very board so tried this. so easy and yummie. thx for sharing

Sonia said... #

I loved Cracker Jack when I was growing up. Wanted to make a homemade version and this recipe is perfect. This saves you money from buying the stuff in the box and it always tastes better when made fresh. Thanks!

Anonymous said... #

I made this today it was the bomb!

Anonymous said... #

AWESOME ! I hate to say it tastes like Cracker Jacks because it is WAY BETTER and so easy. Within 30 minutes of seeing the recipe I was sitting down to enjoy it.

Judy said... #

OMGosh!! This stuff is easy to make, delicious and taste just like Cracker Jacks. The only down side is its addictive nature.
I make it and have my man bring it to work immediately saving me from constant trips to the cupboard.

Thanks for sharing this recipe.