Thursday, December 16, 2010

Caramel Corn/Cracker Jack Anyone?

I've had a little break.  A blogging break again, that it!  It's obvious that blogging has not been a priority lately but I should at least make an effort to do some type of holiday related post. 

In an effort to decorate our little tree in a way that will be safe for little fingers to explore, only one casualty occurred.  And this was the fault of Grammie.  Too bad it was a souvenir from our trip to Ireland a few years ago.  But at least I have this record of  it's beauty - even if it is broken!  And so far, the Christmas tree has been enjoyed by this little elf without any more mishaps. 
An early winter (not even officially winter) ice "event" kept me in the house today.  So it was a good day to get a little holiday baking accomplished.  If there is one recipe that I would say has become a tradition in our family, it would be Caramel Corn - or Cracker Jack as my mother would've called it.  Every year I get out my trusty old hot air popcorn popper (a gift from back in the seventies!)  and Grandma Mary's big ol' (most likely an antique!) roasting pan and mix up a batch of Caramel Corn.  The smell alone is worth every calorie!

Caramel Corn

8 quarts (approx.) popped corn in a large oven roasting pan

2 cups brown sugar
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup white corn syrup (regular pancake syrup will work fine)
1/2 t. salt
      Mix sugar, butter, syrup and salt together in large saucepan and bring to boil for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and  add 1 t. vanilla and 1/2 t. baking soda and be prepared to stir quickly as this will foam.  Pour over the popped corn and stir gently.  Place in a 250 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. 

Make sure your roasting pan is big enough!

Don't forget to stir every 15 minutes while baking.  Make sure you taste test a kernel or two every time!

 After 1 hour, dump out on large clean surface to cool and break up any large clumps.  Taste testing is optional, but I dare you not to!  When cool, package into plastic storage bags or storage containers and hide until ready to serve to snack starved family or package and give as holiday gifts.  Enjoy!

Do you need a quick recipe?  Try these little Faux Turtles.  Simply stack a small pretzel with a Rollo candy and a large pecan.  Place in a warm oven and when the candy is soft, press the pecan down to smush together.  If you want to dress them up a little, drizzle a little melted white candy coating across them and place in the refrigerator until set.  You are done! 

Have a blessed Christmas holiday this year!

PS:  Christmas miracle.  My laptop recovered on it's own accord!  The resident computer geek had determined that the hard drive was okay but the keyboard and mouse would not work nor would the battery hold a charge.  Then out of the blue, it started to work again!  Guess it just took an extended vacation! 


Erin said...

Be sure to save me some of that Cracker Jack!!!

sarah said...

this cracker jack looks mighty familiar! it might have been made a few times in oklahoma this week, too!

Jessica said...

My mother just e-mailed me the cracker jack recipe earlier this week. I will be making it this weekend! Except, I am going to have to experiment and try it with microwave popcorn as I do not own an air popper - hope it isn't a disaster!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh My Gosh. That caramel corn would be very dangerous here -- caramel corn is my number 1 favorite snack. I'm afraid I'd probably eat most of it in one sitting. Thanks for the recipe -- it looks fabulous!