Kids in the Kitchen

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Homemade Cracker Jack Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of air-popped popcorn (popcorn should be plain, not flavored or seasoned)
  • 1 cup of peanuts (or pecans or Spanish peanuts)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey (or corn syrup)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place popcorn and peanuts in a large buttered roaster (such as an aluminum turkey roaster)
  3. In a deep cooking pot (2 quart pot should do) combine the brown sugar, butter, honey(or corn syrup) and salt over low heat.
  4. After the butter melts, cook without stirring for 3 minutes. It should bubble gently during the 3 minutes.
  5. Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the vanilla and the baking soda. The syrup will foam high when you add the baking soda.
  6. Stir it down and as it cools slightly, quickly pour this mixture over the pan of popcorn and peanuts.
  7. Using two large spoons, mix gently to coat the popcorn evenly. IT IS HOT! BE CAREFUL.
  8. Bake the well mixed popcorn uncovered in the oven for about 15-30 minutes. Check it after 15 minutes and stir. Depending on your oven etc., you might need additional baking time.
  9. Take it out of the oven and break it up into pieces. Cool before eating or storing.

Note: Due to the heating/pouring of the HOT syrup, this recipe should be made by an adult with limited assistance from children. After the mixture is cool, children can make snack bags for school lunch boxes. It also makes a nice gift-treat when put into cellophane bags and tied with a colorful ribbon.


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