In 1893 a sweet caramel and molasses coated popcorn was served at Chicago's first world fair and it's popularity grew quickly. It wasn't known by it's current name until 1896 when a salesman, tasting the treat for the first time said "That's a cracker jack!" The name stuck and in 1912 the Cracker Jack Company started adding a toy surprise.
As a kid the toy surprise was generally a disappointment. Fast forward 30 years, and today's surprise is that there seem to be fewer peanuts in a box.
This instructable creates a couple of carry-out boxes of this tasty treat in under 10 minutes with the help of the microwave.
Let's get started...
Step 1: Gather Materials
The Cracker Jack slogan ...the more you eat, the more you want...comes from the use of molasses, butter and spanish peanuts. However today's recipe uses common household ingrediants of:
New/clean brown paper bag
4 cups popped popcorn, checked carefully for unpopped kernals
1/2 cup lightly salted peanuts (far more than is in today's product)
2 Tbsp margarine (or butter if budget allows)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 Tbsp dark honey (or molasses)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda
*according to Frito-Lay there are at least 20 peanuts per 4 oz package of Cracker Jacks. According to me/author, that's still not enough!
Step 2: Easy Peasy Directions
Place the peanuts and popped popcorn into the brown paper bag. Set aside.
In a heat-proof glass dish, combine all ingrediants EXCEPT the baking soda, and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir until well blended.
Return to microwave and cook for 90 seconds more. Remove from microwave and stir in the baking soda (some foaming will occur).
Pour the hot syrup over the popcorn/peanuts and fold over the top of the paper bag. Shake the bag so popcorn/peanuts are coated with the syrup.
Return bag to the microwave for 30 seconds more, shaking to cost further. Pour contents onto a plate to cool.
Step 3: Nosh Away
Microwaves are not of the same wattage, so if the cooled coated popcorn is still sticky, place on a baking sheet in a preheated oven (~350 degrees). Turn off oven and let the residual heat dry out the mixture further.
This recipe creates about plateful, or an overflowing carry-out box of this tasty treat - with a surprisingly higher number peanuts (instead of the toy)
Enjoy (and keep flossing)!