Monday, February 21, 2011

Let's Get Crack-a-lackin'

I wanted to whip up a snack for a group of teachers today. I needed a lot, it needed to be easy, and it needed to be made out of stuff I already had in the house.

These homemade Cracker Jacks were perfect. The hardest part of this is separating the popped corn from the unpopped kernels. But with a little bribing, you can talk cute, little girls into helping.


Cracker Jacks

10 cups of popped popcorn (1 3.5 oz. bag of microwave popcorn yields about 10 cups)
(I used PopSecret HomeStyle popcorn - touch of salt, touch of butter - yum)
1 1 /2 c. dry roasted salted peanuts
1/4 c. corn syrup
1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. baking soda

In a nonstick sauce pan, bring the corn syrup, butter, brown sugar, and salt to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and soda. Pour over popcorn and peanuts. Mix well. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake 250 degrees for 45 minutes.

How my mistakes can help you:
  • I once tried this with pecans. The pecans became too toasty and burned slightly.

  • I left out the corn syrup yesterday in a batch, and it still came out okay.

  • Use parchment paper on the cookie sheet for easier clean-up if you are using an old, cruddy pan. The caramel will slide off rather well on good cookie sheets.

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