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Homemade Cracker Jack

I am told there is a big baseball game on tonight, something about the World Series. I know, I knooow its America’s past time and the Mets are finally getting their day in the sun and people around here seem pretty pumped about it but I am just going to be honest here, I really don’t like baseball. There it is. The last time I went to a game I thought it was over when people started getting up at the seventh-inning stretch – I had crushed my giant box of Cracker Jack so in my mind the game was over until someone got me some more.

Yes, I go to games pretty much for the junk food but in my defense I went to an all girls school (for 13 years) in the middle of New York City, going out to some random field on Randalls Island to watch lacrosse was just not a thing. More Gossip Girl than Friday Night Lights in millennial speak.   And while I like to think of myself as “sporty”, my athletic career includes such highlights as inbounding the ball in middle school basketball (as in that was literally my only job), making a concerted effort to move in the opposite direction of the ball on the soccer field, and being forced to attempt the vault every week in gymnastics, but each time i sprinted loafed towards the springboard I ended up slamming into the damn thing instead of effortlessly twirling over it.

Homemade Cracker Jack is more my speed.

What I like about this recipe as opposed to one for the more traditional caramel corn is that you do not have to stand over boiling sugar waiting to see that hint of caramel color only to have it burn in the half second it takes to grab your oven mitt. You are still boiling sugar which might seem scary but you are just getting it to a certain temperature so clip your candy thermometer to the side of the pot and as it approaches 250˚F just hover with your oven mitts already on. No problemo.

Homemade Cracker Jack


8-10 cups


10 cups freshly popped popcorn*

1 cup peanuts

2 cups brown sugar

1¼ cups honey

¼ cup molasses

8oz (2sticks) unsalted butter, very soft or melted

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda


Preheat the oven to 250˚F and line two baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment.

Have popcorn ready to go in the biggest bowl you have. Keep the peanuts on the side.

In a small pot, combine the brown sugar, honey, molasses, butter and salt. Add a few tablespoons of water to moisten the sugar before bringing to a boil over medium heat. Cook to 250˚F.

As soon as the sugar reaches 250˚F, turn off the heat, stir in the baking soda and immediately pour over the popcorn, tossing to coat evenly. Add the peanuts and toss again.

Spread the popcorn mix onto your prepared sheet pans and bake for about 1 hour, stirring to break up clumps once or twice.

Once out of the oven, give one more toss and let cool completely.

This will keep well in an airtight container at room temp up to a week.

hungry for more?

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