- 15 cups plain popped popcorn (from about 1/2 cup kernels), unpopped kernels removed
- 3/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, plus more for coating the pan
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons dark molasses, such as Grandma’s Robust
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1Heat the oven to 250°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a large roasting pan with butter. Place the popcorn and peanuts in the pan and stir to combine; set aside.
- 2Place the brown sugar, measured butter, corn syrup, molasses, and salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Continue to boil without stirring for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla and baking soda, and whisk until the caramel is light in color, foamy, and has doubled in volume, about 10 seconds.
- 3Immediately drizzle over the popcorn and peanuts, stir with the rubber spatula until thoroughly coated, and spread into an even layer.
- 4Bake, stirring with the rubber spatula every 15 minutes and scraping up any caramel from the bottom of the pan, until a cooled piece of popcorn is very crunchy, about 45 minutes total. (To test for doneness, take a few pieces of popcorn out of the oven and let cool for 30 seconds. If they’re crunchy, then the Cracky Snack is done.)
- 5Transfer the Cracky Snack to a work surface or rimmed baking sheet to cool completely (it will crisp as it cools). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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