As we all know, I hate to waste so, when I was on my way to the bin to empty yet another bowl of half eaten popcorn, I thought it would be better to start keeping these leftovers to see what I could do with them. It was only during my monthly purge of my freezer, where I found a selection of nuts, that I put two and two together. Memories of my childhood days, of rummaging through a Cracker Jack box for the nuts as well as the surprise, came flowing back to me.
That sweet and salty combination was so good and so addictive that I decided that it was time to rekindle a few taste memories. Thanks to Michelle and her Brown Eyed Baker blog, I collected all the ingredients out of my pantry for some homemade Cracker Jacks. Since I seldom have corn syrup, I decided to replace it with maple syrup to give the concoction a Canadian feel. I also added some cashews to honor another of my favorite candied popcorn called Poppycock.
Let me know what you think!
A sweet snack that we were only allowed to have on special occasions. This recipe reminds me of a mix between Cracker Jacks and Poppycock.
- 8 cups popcorn
- ½ cup lightly salted peanuts
- ½ cup roasted cashews
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 150 C.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone mat.
- Pop the popcorn or use leftover popcorn!
- Coat a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray, then transfer the popcorn and nuts to the bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and water, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 212C (250F) on a candy thermometer, about 3 to 4 minutes. Do not over cook.
- Turn off the heat, and whisk in the vanilla and baking soda.
- Immediately pour the hot mixture over the popcorn. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the caramel into the popcorn until all of the popcorn is coated.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out.
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Gently break up the popcorn. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.