Grand Slam Honey Caramel Crackerjacks
1-2 cups roasted Spanish peanuts *
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.
Pairs Well With
8-12 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).