Tag Archives: peanuts

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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Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesThere is a small town between Austin, Texas, and my hometown of Fort Worth that is called Hamilton. From the passenger seat of my parents’ SUV, it looks like any other small Texas town—there’s nothing remarkable about it from that particular vantage point, except that it is home to my family’s favorite pit stop, Dutchman’s Hidden Valley Country Store.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesI should say that we have always called it The Flying Dutchman. I don’t know why—that’s just what we’ve always called it. I’d like to tell you that we will change our ways and call it Dutchman’s Hidden Valley from here on out, but we won’t so I won’t. A 35+ year family habit is not easily broken.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesMy dad began stopping at Dutchman’s Hidden Valley in the early 1980s on his way to visit my older sister down in Fredericksburg. He’d stretch his legs and grab a Bavarian ham sandwich before getting back on the road. When he met my mom, he introduced her to the store. Fast forward ten or so years, and she and my grandma began taking Eliot and me to Dutchman’s on our way to family reunions in Kerrville. And now, twenty years beyond that, my parents take the back route to visit my older sister again, this time in Austin. They say it’s because I-35 is a mess, which is true, but I think it’s actually so they can get a sandwich.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesI haven’t lived in Texas or driven the back roads in a very long time now, but a couple of Christmases ago I had the pleasure of riding with my mom from my sister’s home in Austin to my parents’ in Fort Worth. We were listening to Hamilton while zipping through Hamilton’s city limit (so meta!), when she suggested I call Dutchman’s and order some sandwiches. I did, and when we arrived we grabbed a couple of bags of chips and a Diet Coke to split, and in a snap decision, two old-fashioned peanut butter cookies. The sandwiches and chips and soda all tasted like they always have, but the peanut butter cookies were new to both of us and so much more than we had bargained for—not that we’ve ever been served anything less than perfection at Dutchman’s.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, crunchy and not-too-sweet, with an almost-savory peanut butter flavor, my mom and I talked about them all the way home. Dutchman’s peanut butter cookies are probably the best I’ve ever had in my life, and I have thought of them frequently and fondly for the last 15 months. I’m still kicking myself for not grabbing another on the way out the door—I think they were 60 cents each.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesNow, I am sure I will end up in Texas at some point this year, but I don’t know when, and I am highly unlikely to find myself passing through the sleepy metropolis of Hamilton. My trips are rarely more than a few days, so road trips to get Bavarian ham sandwiches and chips and my newfound-favorite peanut butter cookies are difficult to squeeze in.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesThis is all a very long way of saying that I have done my best to recreate Dutchman’s peanut butter cookies in my New York kitchen. I’ve done a pretty good job, if I do say so myself 🙂 Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesThese Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies are crispy and crunchy (duh) and sort of sandy. They aren’t overly sweet—there’s barely 1/2 teaspoon of added sugar in each one—and while I believe Dutchman’s cookies’ savory edge may come from lard (rural Texas, y’all), mine comes from a smattering of roasted peanuts. If you want a sweeter cookie, you can swap all or part of the peanuts for chocolate chips, or leave the add-ins out entirely.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesHands-down, my favorite part of this recipe is that it doesn’t require a chill. The dough is sturdy and easy to roll from the get-go, so the time between the moment the peanut butter cookie craving strikes and when they are baked and ready is mercifully brief. Oh, and these cookies hold up well for at least ten days and develop deeper peanut butter flavor over time, so you can eat them frequently and think of them fondly and not have to worry about when you’ll have time to bake more, or when you can get to a roadside antique store & sandwich counter in Hamilton, Texas, to get your fix.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies
makes about 80 small cookies

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped (optional)

For crosshatching:
granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment, set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and peanut butter until fluffy. Add granulated and light brown sugars, and beat to combine. Mix in egg and vanilla. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in chopped peanuts.

Scoop dough by the 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons), roll into balls, and set 2-inches apart on prepared pans.

Make the crosshatch. Lightly grease the back of a fork and dip in sugar. Press fork into each dough ball, then turn the fork 90 degrees and press again. Re-sugar the fork between cookies.

Bake cookies for 10 minutes, rotating pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back at the 5 minute mark. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, crosshatching, and baking with remaining dough, letting the pans return to room temperature between batches.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week.

Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Granola

 It must just be leftovers week here on E2 Bakes Brooklyn.

Yesterday, I posted a baked french toast recipe that came to be because a friend gave me two loaves of day-old artisan bread. Today, I’m bringing you my new favorite granola recipe, all because an out-of-town friend gave me most of a jar of peanut butter that she had as a snack in her hotel room, and another gave me a one-pound bag of honey-roasted peanuts after a party I catered with him. My friends just like to give me food, apparently. And I am happy to take anything they give me and try to make it into something delicious. Today, I succeeded. 

This Peanut Butter Granola is ridiculously good. It’s almost like having peanut butter cookies for breakfast! Except that it’s high in protein and totally whole grain, so it’s actually good for you! And it gets better: this recipe takes 90 minutes from the time you turn on the oven to when you put the cooled granola in an airtight container. On top of all that, it’s simple as can be 😊

Just whisk together equal parts peanut butter, maple syrup, and olive oil, along with some vanilla. This base will keep everything crispy, sweet, and peanut buttery (of course). Next comes a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. While I would have loved to keep this recipe refined sugar-free, this small amount helps the finished product get extra crunchy. If you don’t want to use brown sugar, you may substitute coconut or Demerara sugars. Add in just a touch of cinnamon and some salt. Neither will have a prominent flavor here–they just allow the peanut butter to shine. Without them, our granola could be overly sweet and a little bland.

How sad is the idea of bland peanut butter anything?! 😭

Once the liquid ingredients are ready to go, it’s time to fold in the oats and honey-roasted peanuts. They are used here in an almost 50/50 ratio. There are slightly more oats, but rest assured that there are plenty of peanuts in every crunchy bite! If that amount of chopped nuts sounds like too much for your taste, feel free to replace some of them with an equal volume of oats. 

 
   
After everything is mixed together, spread the granola on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet. Bake the granola for 40-45 minutes at 300F, stirring every fifteen minutes. By the time it’s done cooking, your house will smell unbelievable! Let the granola cool in the pan on a cooling rack before transferring it to an airtight container for up to three weeks.

I like to eat this granola with Greek yogurt and fruit, but it’s also great with milk, or just by itself as an afternoon snack. How good would a handful be with some chocolate chips?! Oooh, or peanut butter chips! However you choose to enjoy it, you’ll love this Peanut Butter Granola!

  
Looking for more granola? Check out my easy Maple Pecan Granola!

Peanut Butter Granola
makes about 4.5 cups

1/4 cup natural or creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar*, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats*
2 cups honey roasted peanuts*, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together peanut butter, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold the oats and chopped peanuts into the mixture.

Once everything is coated in the peanut butter mixture, spread it in an even layer on the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every fifteen minutes. Cool granola in the pan on a rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

Notes:

1. Coconut or Demerara sugars may be substituted.
2. Use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free granola.
3. If this is too many peanuts for you, replace 1/2 cup of them with an equal volume of old-fashioned oats.