Thursday, December 2, 2010

Caramel Corn

Cracker Jacks are so amazing, aren't they?! The salty sweet popcorn combined with the crunchy peanuts... all covered in a sugary coating... c'mon now, what's not to love?! I can't remember the last time I bought Cracker Jacks, possibly years and years ago, but for some reason this stuff popped into my head while I was planning my Thanksgiving menu. I thought the coloring of the caramel corn was very appropriate for Thanksgiving, so I figured I'd try my hand at making it.

Really it doesn't get much easier than this. Mix some stuff together, melt it, pour it, bake it. Ta-da! Magic. I followed the recipe to a tee and I wish I hadn't- I felt the cook time was off. Even though I mixed it frequently I felt like the top section in the final minutes of baking tasted... burnt. The rest was AMAZING, but every so often I'd get a piece that just tasted too well done. Therefore, the following recipe reflects my changes and the amount of time I feel is necessary. If after this time you feel yours isn't done give it a few more minutes- it needs to be hardened.

The taste of this stuff is great. It's just like Cracker Jacks! If you want to make it really authentic stick a little rub on tattoo in the bag and call it a "prize"- that was always my favorite part as a kid!

Source: Adapted from Good Things Catered

1/2 c. butter
2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. corn
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 bags microwaved popcorn
1 1/2 c. honey roasted peanuts, or addin of choice

-Preheat oven to 300 degrees
-Pop popcorn and place popcorn and peanuts in a very large bowl.
-In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
-Stir in brown sugar, corn
 syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
-Boil without stirring 4 minutes.
-Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla.
-Pour over popcorn and stir to coat.
-Place popcorn in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 30-35 minutes.
-Remove from oven, stir one more time and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

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