|SALTY PEANUTS, CRUNCHY POPCORN, AND 2 KINDS OF CHOCOLATE...WHO CAN RESIST?|
What a lot of fun to munch on freshly made caramel popcorn with peanuts!
As a young child, one of my favorite treats, which I purchased for a dime at the neighborhood grocery store, Ernie's Market, was a box of Cracker Jack, a candy coated popcorn and peanut snack that always had a little prize inside. These prizes were actually sought after...kinda like kids going to McDonald's today and getting a toy in their Happy Meals. Those prizes have now been reduced to paper "prizes" with jokes and riddles, but they are still fun to find amidst all the good eating.
The original Cracker Jack made in the late 1800's was coated with a molasses mixture and the name came from the word "crackerjack," a colloquialism meaning excellent quality.
Almost everyone has enjoyed singing the song, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The song has a line that reads, "buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack!"
And do you remember Sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo? I've not purchased Cracker Jack in a long time, but I'm guessing their image continues on the packaging.
|4 COOKIE SHEETS WERE FILLED WITH THIS CARAMEL CORN AND PEANUT MIXTURE...ENOUGH FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY|
We all love caramel corn. We enjoy it a fairs, on boardwalks, at carnivals, while shopping or sightseeing, and now, in front of the TV, especially during sports events.
And that's where I recently used this Baked recipe...as part of our Superbowl buffet. YUM! (I cheated a little as I looked ahead and found this recipe on our baking list, and decided to make it a few weeks in advance, for good reason.)
Last Fall, I made huge batches of my usual caramel corn recipe and mixed in fall candies, pretzels, nuts, etc. that was extremely popular at our house. I gave it away by the bags to family and friends. And it is light enough to be inexpensively mailed away to family not living nearby.
|MAKES ME WANT TO EAT SOME MORE!|
It was fun to compare today's recipe with my usual caramel corn and peanut recipe. My usual uses light brown sugar and does not have molasses in its ingredient list. These richer additions did change the taste...I'd call it a richer, more adult flavor. Also I cook my go-to recipe just a little hotter, and just a little longer in the oven which makes it a little more crunchy. I like today's recipe...the flavor reminds me more of Cracker Jack, but next time, I will keep it in the oven longer to crunch up just a little more.
|HONEY WAS MY OFFICIAL TASTER AND SHE'S HOLDING UP A PIECE FOR YOU TO SEE|
Then, today's biggest difference was the addition of chocolate...2 kinds, milk and dark. Because we were expecting a crowd for Superbowl Sunday, I made a huge bowl without the chocolates, and a huger bowl with the chocolates drizzled over the top. We love them both. I did find, that on our warm AZ day...almost 80^ on Superbowl Sunday, that the chocolate did not really firm up until the next day, even though tempered chocolate does set up quite quickly under normal conditions. My kitchen was also unusually warm due to Superbowl cooking too. Next time, I need to plan ahead or have a large space available in the fridge for this recipe, ensuring that the chocolate will set up.
My only other change: I added lots more peanuts that are so yummy when caramelized...at least 4 times the suggested amount. Everyone loves those peanuts especially while watching the ballgames. I had several comments that this caramel corn has a great flavor...all the family enjoyed this snack.
For sure I'll make this again...in fact, Honey turns 2 tomorrow, and she's having a Candy Shop birthday party...this Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts and Chocolate will be a perfect party food. Isn't it great to try new recipes that get used again and again? I already know that Honey loves this one! This time, since it is very warm again today, I'll find some fridge space to make sure the chocolate is firm.