Cracker Jack Clone

Caramel Corn & Peanuts

It’s always nice to surprise people with delicious foods they’ve never had before. This weekend was a first for my wife and her parents. They had never tasted caramel popcorn and peanuts. Here in Norway, there’s no shortage of caramel covered foods, i.e. candy-coated almonds are my favorite. However, caramel popcorn isn’t all that visible in the shops. As a matter of fact, the only time I’ve seen caramel corn in Oslo is at the candy shops that specialize in imported goods. That’s where you’ll find the American classic, Cracker Jack.

popcorn5This particular craving for caramel popcorn began the other day with a sudden sweet tooth. So I went to the cupboards to take inventory. No cookies, no candy or cakes. Just one bag of butter flavored microwave popcorn. Not exactly the treat I was after. I also pulled out an opened bag of roasted peanuts, and then it hit me. Cracker Jack!

popcorn4This recipe is insanely easy, though it really helps to own a candy thermometer, since to nail the candy portion of this treat requires getting the temperature up to the hard crack stage. If it’s too soft, it will be a sticky mess, and if it’s too hot, the sugar will burn. You also want to dry the popcorn out as much as possible or else it will feel stale after the caramel is poured over it. This was never my go-to junk food when craving something sweet, but now that my wife and son got a taste for it, looks like I’ll be making it on a more regular basis.


Caramel Corn & Peanuts

  • Servings: Makes about 7 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 1 microwave bag of butter flavored popcorn
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup syrup or light molasses
  • ¼ water
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp smoked sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 125°C. Pop popcorn and immediately spread out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with peanuts and put in oven.

2. In a medium saucepan add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the smoked sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat until the temperature reaches 150°C, about 20mins.

3. Remove the popcorn and peanuts from the oven and pour the caramel, in a stream, all over. Quickly stir to coat, before the caramel sets. Sprinkle the sea salt all over.

4. Place the caramel corn back in the oven for 20 mins, stirring every 5 minutes to coat.

5. Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!


6 thoughts on “Cracker Jack Clone

  1. Wow – so super easy – and it just so happens I have a candy thermometer. I’ll have to add this to our “movie” night at home – looks wonderful. The only thing missing is a toy surprise!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! That’s really too bad about the allergies, and the end of an era. I don’t know what I’ll do if my little guy ever develops an allergy to peanuts. At least for now we can enjoy homemade Cracker Jack at home on movie night.


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