Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Not-so-sticky caramel corn

Welcome to the Festival of Food Carnival. In celebration of autumn and Halloween, we're sharing recipe ideas for healthy treats, or anything you would enjoy this time of year. Hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama, you're welcome to join us next time, or if you have a previously published recipe you'd like to share, add it to the linky below.

This is one in a series of guest posts by other bloggers. Read to the end for a longer biographical note on today's guest blogger, my partner and husband, Crackerdog Sam. Sam figured out a way to make the perfect fall and Halloween treat of Cracker Jack appealing to those of us with a more muted sweet tooth.

Guest post by Crackerdog Sam

Not-so-sticky caramel corn popcorn recipe at Hobo MamaWe stopped microwaving popcorn a few years ago when Lauren discovered this easy recipe from Perfect Popcorn by Elise on Simply Recipes for cooking popcorn on the stove that is simple, fast, and delicious and leaves hardly any old maids.

Because I like to incorporate my own twist into recipes, I started experimenting with different powdered topping ideas but never could get one that I loved. Then a few weeks ago Mikko asked what Cracker Jack was after hearing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and, not wanting to buy him some (if he didn't like it I wouldn't finish it, since it's way too sticky for me, molar-wise), I improvised a version of Cracker Jack on the stove with brown sugar. It turned out better than anything I had slaved over inventing.


  • 2 Tbsp peanut oil (use peanut oil for a rich taste that lets the popcorn flavor shine through — you could substitute grapeseed or coconut oil…though I love the peanut oil and found it was well worth buying a bottle)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp popcorn kernels
  • 1/3 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar (or smaller amount Sucanat; see below)

Dietary/allergy notes:

{From the editor:} Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free. Obviously not appropriate for people with peanut allergies as is, though you could substitute the oil and leave out the peanuts. Yes, it has a little sugar. I'll admit that we do eat sugar, despite this being the "healthy" treat festival, ha ha! If you want to avoid refined sugar, try substituting a smaller amount of Sucanat in place of the brown sugar — Sucanat has a stronger taste, so you'll have to experiment to get the amount right.


1) In a three-quart stainless steel saucepan, add oil, salt, and 3 to 4 popcorn kernels. Cover with glass lid. {Editor's note: Stainless steel with glass lids are ideal for this recipe. You can substitute opaque lids if needed and just listen to count the test pops. I have fond memories of my dad and me making popcorn on the stove by doing just that!}

2) Heat at a high heat (my knobs go up to 10 and I cook it at 8) until those kernels have popped.

3) Remove pan from heat momentarily, remove lid and add the rest of the kernels (replacing lid), and shake pan for 30 seconds. Place back on heat until all kernels have popped.

4) Immediately after popping has ceased, remove lid and sprinkle brown sugar on the popcorn and toss in the peanuts. Replace lid quickly to keep the steam inside and shake well to coat evenly for about 20 seconds.

5) Pour your sugar-sweet popcorn into a large serving bowl and enjoy!

Crackerdog Sam (that's his hobo name) is a full-time work-from-home parent. He shares both the working and the parenting of five-year-old Mikko and one-year-old Alrik with Lauren of Hobo Mama. He is the resident chef extraordinaire and does all the family's (delicious) cooking.

Please take a moment to visit the blogs of our other Festival of Food participants. The links in this list will be live by the end of the day, as participants are all in different time zones.
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Unknown said...

This is a great recipe! I can't use anything but honey right now so I wonder how that sub would work out? Hmmm....might have to try it once I can actually eat popcorn again. Gorgeous food pron photos by the way!

Luschka said...

Oh! That sounds great! I have such fond memories of my dad and sugared popcorn ;) What a fab recipe! And we're not scared of a bit of sugar around these parts either!

Bianca @ The Pierogie Mama said...

YUM this sounds so good! We don't have popcorn too often, mainly because I don't want to eat the commercial kind and haven't dove into home-popped yet ;) This definitely is on my list to do! Thank you for sharing.

Lindsay said...

Yum! We got a popcorn maker as a wedding gift and use it regularly-I wonder if this would work if I add the brown sugar after popping? I'll have to play around with it some! (Maybe if I sautee some brown sugar and peanuts and butter and then pour that on top of my popcorn...super healthy, lol).

Anonymous said...

YUM!! We are addicted to popcorn AND peanut butter - in fact my tot just started saying "Beebee butter" today - she eats it by the spoonful!
So this, THIS, is the recipe for us! And what a nutritous one too -
thanks :D

Unknown said...

Mmmmm! This looks like it'll be a very fun and delicious snack for us to experiment with. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!

Lauren Wayne said...

@Jennifer Saleem: Sam's all about making people drool. :)

Lauren Wayne said...

@Crunchy Con Mommy: Sometimes it is our duty to experiment. For science.

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