Homemade Cracker Jacks are a close copycat of the nostalgic treat in the red and white box. Coated in molasses caramel with redskin Spanish peanuts, you won't know the difference between this recipe and the real thing!
- 16 cups popped popcorn
- 1 cup redskin Spanish peanuts
- 4 TBS butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 TBS molasses
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Pre-heat oven to 250F
- Arrange popcorn and peanuts onto two large baking sheets and place them into the pre-heated oven while you prepare the caramel.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine all remaining ingredients except for the baking soda and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Insert a candy thermometer and continue to boil while stirring until the mixture reaches 270-285F. Once this stage has been reached, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the baking soda until well-combined.
- Working quickly, pour the caramel over the popcorn and peanut mixture and return to the oven for 25 minutes, stirring with a large spatula every 5 minutes until well-coated. Remove from oven and allow to cool, and then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
If you want a heavier coating of caramel, reduce the popcorn to 10 cups and leave everything else the same.
To ensure the caramel gets hot enough for a nice crunchy popcorn, you'll need a candy thermometer. I recommend this one with a pot clip - super easy.
Freezer instructions: After the popcorn has cooled, store in freezer-safe Ziploc bags, being sure to squeeze out all of the air before sealing. Store in the freezer for up to one year.