Messing Family Recipes


Cracker Jack

  1. Heat oven to 250° and grease two large rimmed baking sheets with neutral oil.
  2. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons neutral oil and 2 kernels to a large pot. Cover and heat over medium. Once you hear those first two kernels pop, add the remaining kernels, cover and cook, shaking occasionally, until the popping slows down, about 4 to 6 minutes. You should hear a few seconds of silence between pops. Remove from the heat.
  3. Transfer the popcorn to a large, heatproof bowl and discard any unpopped kernels. Add the peanuts to the popcorn and toss to combine. Set the vanilla and baking soda near the stove for easy access.
  4. In a small saucepan, stir the butter, brown sugar, molasses and salt over medium until the butter melts. Once the butter has melted, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook the mixture, undisturbed, until the temperature reaches 248°.
  5. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will become foamy. Immediately pour it over the popcorn and use a wooden spoon to coat it evenly.
  6. Spread the popcorn out onto the two prepared baking sheets. Bake until the mixture is dry, about 20 to 25 minutes, tossing occasionally. The mixture will dry out as it cools but may still be slightly sticky. Sprinkle with a bit more salt, to taste.
  7. Let the popcorn cool completely. It’s best enjoyed the day it’s cooked, but you can also store it in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Yield: About 16 cups

Time: 45 minutes, plus cooling