Homemade Cracker Jack

Making Homemade Cracker Jack popcorn is super easy and delicious! Sweet and crunchy, this addictive caramel corn is better than the original!

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Making Homemade Cracker Jack popcorn is super easy and delicious! Sweet and crunchy, this addictive caramel corn is better than the original!

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My kids are home right now. All of them. Including my son who is in the Marines. There is something so wonderful about waking up in the morning and having all of them under the same roof.

And equally wonderful is the banter and bickering at the breakfast table. No seriously. It’s funny now. It used to get frustrating to see them annoy each other.

But now? I see how close they have become. They text and call each other without prompting. I’m blessed to know that my kids have come to the point in their lives where they are “friends.”

Well, most days anyway. You know, the days when my teen girls aren’t arguing over who is wearing someone’s favorite shirt, shoes {insert clothing item here}!

While I relish in this moment, I think back to my childhood. Growing up with three brothers (no sisters) I never had that bond my three girls have. The arguing in our house was usually due to someone eating the last Little Debbie or pouring the last bowl of cereal.

Making Homemade Cracker Jack popcorn is super easy and delicious! Sweet and crunchy, this addictive caramel corn is better than the original!

One way I survived life with three brothers was food hoarding. I would offer to help my mom put away groceries so that I can inventory what she bought. I would then take a box of my favorite cereal and put it in my room. If you’ve ever seen teen boys eat cereal, they take giant mixing bowls and pour themselves a “serving.” Three servings later the box is empty. One box of cereal hidden in my room lasted me awhile, haha!!

I would also grab some of my favorite lunch snacks and treats and hide them too. One of which was Cracker Jack. My mom didn’t buy it often, but the times that she did I would immediately hoard it away in my room. Anticipating what little toy would be inside (I always hoped for tattoos)!

I recently bought a package of Cracker Jack, and guess what? It’s not as good as I remember. So I set out to make my own. Making homemade caramel corn is so easy! And this recipe makes a ton, so you can store it in gallon ziploc bags and serve it to your friends. Plenty of snacking for the WHOLE family. No need to hoard any Homemade Cracker Jack in your room, ha!

Making Homemade Cracker Jack popcorn is super easy and delicious! Sweet and crunchy, this addictive caramel corn is better than the original!

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Homemade Cracker Jack

Yield: 16 cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Making Homemade Cracker Jack popcorn is super easy and delicious! Sweet and crunchy, this addictive caramel corn is better than the original!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 16 cups popped popcorn (about 2 1/2 bags of microwave popcorn)**
  • 1 1/2 cups spanish redskin peanuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil and stir constantly. Once boiling, remove from heat.
  3. Add in baking soda and vanilla.
  4. Gradually pour over popped corn. Mix well. Add in peanuts.
  5. Using two large pans (I use broiler pans, but large lasagna foil pans work too, and easy cleanup), divide popcorn evenly. Place one pan on top rack (middle of oven) and one on bottom rack.
  6. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes (and rotating in the oven). Remove after an hour and allow to cool. Store in airtight containers or ziploc bags. ENJOY.
**make sure ALL seeds have been removed!

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Making Homemade Cracker Jack popcorn is super easy and delicious! Sweet and crunchy, this addictive caramel corn is better than the original!