Homemade Cracker Jacks

Total Time:
1 hr 35 min
Prep:
20 min
Cook:
1 hr 15 min

Yield:
about 3 quarts
Level:
Advanced

CATEGORIES
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups salted Spanish redskin peanuts
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 9 cups popped corn
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the peanuts, pecan halves, cayenne, Essence, Worcestershire, lemon juice, and melted butter, tossing to coat well. Spread mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on parchment paper or paper towels. Combine the cooled spiced nuts and popcorn and divide evenly between 2 lightly greased baking sheets with 1/2-inch edges. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining unsalted butter, sugar, and cane syrup over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour hot mixture evenly over both baking sheets of popcorn and nuts. Using a lightly greased spatula, stir the mixture well so that everything is evenly coated.

Bake for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove caramel corn from the baking sheets and cool completely on waxed paper. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.

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