- Cooking Time:
- Preparation Time:
Backstory8-12 cups popped popcorn
(About 2 loads of air popped popcorn made according to manufacturer's instructions - check out Regal or West Bend - they still make air poppers).
- 1-2 cups roasted Spanish peanuts *
- Caramel mixture:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 3/8 teaspoon baking soda (1/4 tsp. plus a bit)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Make popcorn and set aside.
- Roast peanuts (or purchase roasted) on a baking sheet in a 325 F oven until slightly colored, about 12-20 minutes, turning every so often.
- Remove and let cool.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter, and then add brown sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, baking soda, vanilla and salt.
- Stir, allowing mixture to come to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium, and boil gently without stirring about 3 minutes (or until mixture registers 265 F. on a candy thermometer - soft ball stage check out the sidebar on Thermometers).
- Preheat oven to 250 F.
- Place popcorn in a large, heat-safe bowl.
- Slowly pour syrup over popcorn.
- Stir and toss, adding in peanuts at the same time, and toss to coat as best you can.
- Turn popcorn onto a large parchment lined baking sheet. Popcorn will not look thoroughly coated with caramel at this point but that will take care of itself as it bakes and dries.
- Bake, tossing and shuffling corn every few minutes for about 20 minutes.
- Cool and break into serving size pieces.
- Keeps for about three days.
- You may freeze cooled crackerjacks on large baking sheets (this will keep it crisp and reduce clumping).
- Once frozen, place portions in PAPER bags and store in freezer.