Category Archives: popcorn

Sriracha Cracker Jack

Sriracha Cracker JackI frequently joke that the Texas Rangers baseball team is partially responsible for my birth. It’s funny because it’s true.Sriracha Cracker JackYou see, my parents’ first date was to a Texas Rangers baseball game in May of 1981. When they entered the ballpark, my mom told my dad that she needed a program. He bought her one, assuming that she wanted a souvenir, but he realized he was wrong when she pulled out a pencil and began properly scoring the game on the grid in the middle. My dad had never met a woman who knew how to do that. Now, three daughters later, he knows four.Sriracha Cracker JackMy parents were married just under two years after that first game and have had season tickets for the Texas Rangers ever since. It will come as no surprise that they raised children who love baseball, too. All of us cheer for the Rangers with great enthusiasm, even when they are terrible, which has been a lot. Sriracha Cracker JackBut. But! Tomorrow is Opening Day at Globe Life Park—the last at that ballpark—so we all have hope that the next 162 games will take our team somewhere great. The stats are not exactly in our favor, but it’s hard *not* to have hope on the day before the season starts. I will likely be singing a different tune when the playoffs begin at the end of September, but until then, I’m going to root-root-root for my home team. If they don’t win, it’s a shame 🎶 Sriracha Cracker Jack I won’t ask you to buy me peanuts and Cracker Jack though, because Cracker Jack already has peanuts in it—why would I want more?—and because I’ve started making this Sriracha Cracker Jack, which is the perfect accompaniment for watching Texas Rangers games from the comfort of my Brooklyn bedroom.Sriracha Cracker JackThis stuff is so good, y’all. It’s the classic Cracker Jack combination of crispy popcorn and crunchy peanuts, but with a good dose of sriracha added to the traditional molasses caramel coating!Sriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackI used my Salty Maple Caramel Corn recipe as a jumping-off point for this recipe, swapping the maple for honey and a touch of molasses, reducing the sweetener overall, and adding 1/4 cup of salty, spicy, garlicky sriracha to the mix. Yesssss.Sriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackThe caramel comes together in five minutes before being tossed with freshly-popped popcorn and salted peanuts and baked at a low temperature for an hour. Once the Sriracha Cracker Jack has cooled, the coating will be glossy and glass-like—this makes for super satisfying munching.Sriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker Jack is crispy, crunchy, sweet, spicy, and a little savory—the best of all snack food worlds. It’s perfect for watching baseball, of course, but I think it’d be a great snack for parties and road trips, too.Sriracha Cracker JackReally, anytime you choose to whip up a batch, it’s guaranteed to be a home run ⚾️ Sriracha Cracker Jack

Sriracha Cracker Jack
makes 12 cups

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1 1/2 cups roasted salted peanuts
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup mild honey
1 tablespoon molasses (not blackstrap)
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced into 8 pieces
3 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sriracha hot chili sauce

Pour oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add 4-5 popcorn kernels. Heat over medium heat until kernels begin to pop. Add remaining kernels and cover with lid, leaving it a little bit ajar. Jostle constantly while popcorn pops, until pops are 2-3 seconds apart. Do not burn.

Remove pot from heat and pour popcorn into a bowl. Measure popcorn to ensure there are 12 cups. Set aside excess or pop more, as needed to meet the 12-cup requirement for this recipe. Add peanuts to popcorn.

Preheat oven to 250F. Heavily grease two rimmed sheet pans, your largest mixing bowl, and 2 silicone spatulas with oil or non-stick spray. Put popped popcorn in the bowl. Set aside.

Without stirring or jostling, combine sugar, honey, molasses, salt, butter and water in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda; mixture will bubble up. Stir in sriracha.

Pour sriracha caramel over popcorn and use greased spatulas to toss together. Do not touch any coated pieces that fly out of the bowl—the molten sugar will burn you. Wait til they cool a bit before picking them up.

Divide coated popcorn/peanuts among sheet pans. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Line a sheet pan or a surface with parchment. Pour baked Cracker Jack on top. Let cool to room temperature. Break up clumps. Serve.

Leftover Sriracha Cracker Jack will keep in a ziptop bag for a couple of weeks.Sriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker Jack

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Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Salty Maple Caramel CornI’ve got maple syrup on my mind, y’all! Last week, it was in the form of a Maple Layer Cake. Today, it’s Salty Maple Caramel Corn!Salty Maple Caramel CornY’all—this stuff is phenomenal. Phe-nom-e-nal. Crispy, crunchy, sweet and salty. Oh, and easy. Salty Maple Caramel Corn comes together in four simple steps.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Pop some popcorn.

I pop my popcorn in a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove. Just heat a tablespoon of oil with a few kernels in it over medium heat. When they start popping, add the rest of the kernels, put a lid on it and jostle until all your corn is popped!Salty Maple Caramel Corn

I used Pop-Secret Jumbo Popping Corn in all my testing. I found that 3/4 cup unpopped kernels usually yielded 12 cups of popcorn, but I know that other brands act differently. I’ve seen some that purport to make 16 cups from 1/2 cup kernels! Basically, what I’m saying is to measure your popped popcorn to make sure you have the necessary 12 cups for this recipe 🙂 Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Make the salty maple caramel.

This is one of the easiest caramels you will ever make. There is no pot-watching or streaming heavy cream into molten sugar. You don’t need a candy thermometer either!

Just put sugar, maple syrup, salt, butter, and water in a pot and boil for five minutes. Don’t stir, swirl, or otherwise agitate the pot in any way—this will lead to crystallization and sad, dull caramel corn. No, thank you! Just add the ingredients to the pot (without stirring) and turn on the heat. I promise you, the caramel will form properly on its own.

Once the boiling time is up, turn off the heat. Stir in some vanilla and baking soda. The caramel will bubble up once the baking soda dissolves.Salty Maple Caramel Corn
Two quick recipe notes:

  • I chose to use granulated sugar in this recipe, rather than the usual light brown sugar. While brown sugar is very delicious in caramel corn, I found that the molasses in it competed too much with the maple syrup. If I’m going to use pricey maple syrup in a recipe, I want to be able to taste it!
  • This recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of salt. It will give the finished caramel corn a salty finish, but shouldn’t be overwhelming. If you think it’s too much for you, feel free to reduce it to 1-1 1/2 teaspoons.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Toss the salty maple caramel with the popcorn.

This sounds mindlessly easy, but I’m going to talk about it anyway.

This recipe calls for tossing the popcorn and caramel together in a large oiled bowl with oiled silicone spatulas before spreading it onto oiled rimmed sheet pans. Don’t be tempted to skip the bowl and do the tossing on the pans. Many recipes recommend this, but I burned the everliving crap out of my hand using that method. If you think hot oil burns are the worst, it’s only because you haven’t experienced the unrelenting torture of a molted sugar burn.Salty Maple Caramel CornFor the same reasons, don’t touch any pieces of coated popcorn that fly out of the bowl during mixing. Wait until they cool for a few minutes before picking them up.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Bake at a low temperature and stir occasionally.

This is the easiest of all the steps. Bake the coated caramel corn at 250F for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes to prevent burning. It’s a lot like making granola.Salty Maple Caramel CornSalty Maple Caramel CornThe caramel corn will seem very wet at first, but will harden to a crispy, glossy finish. Once the hour is up, scatter the caramel corn onto a big piece of parchment and let it cool to room temperature. After that, snack away!Salty Maple Caramel CornYou’re going to love this Salty Maple Caramel Corn! It’s a great sweet & salty snack or dessert. I think it would make for a wonderful finishing touch on a bowl of ice cream. You could even pile it high as a finishing touch on a Maple Layer Cake!Salty Maple Caramel CornI highly recommend making a batch over the next couple of days. It’s a guaranteed way to upgrade your weekend ❤ Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Salty Maple Caramel Corn
makes 12 cups

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced into 8 pieces
3 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda

Pour oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add 4-5 popcorn kernels. Heat over medium heat until kernels begin to pop. Add remaining kernels and cover with lid, leaving it a little bit ajar. Jostle constantly while popcorn pops, until pops are 2-3 seconds apart. Do not burn.

Remove pot from heat and pour popcorn into a bowl. Measure popcorn to ensure there are 12 cups. Set aside excess or pop more, as needed to meet the 12-cup requirement for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 250F. Heavily grease two rimmed sheet pans, your largest mixing bowl, and 2 silicone spatulas with oil or non-stick spray. Put popped popcorn in the bowl. Set aside.

Without stirring or jostling, combine sugar, maple syrup, salt, butter and water in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda; mixture will bubble up.

Pour maple caramel over popcorn and use greased spatulas to toss together. Do not touch any coated pieces that fly out of the bowl—the molten sugar will burn you. Wait til they cool a bit before picking them up.

Divide coated popcorn among sheet pans. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Line a sheet pan or a surface with parchment. Pour baked popcorn on top. Let cool to room temperature. Serve

Leftover Salty Maple Caramel Corn will keep in a ziptop bag for up to 2 weeks. It may soften slightly on humid days.
Salty Maple Caramel CornSalty Maple Caramel CornSalty Maple Caramel Corn