Modern Cracker Jacks
As a kid, I loved Cracker Jack® candy coated popcorn. I loved the sweet, sticky popcorn, the salty peanuts and of course the prize that came inside the box. For this recipe, I have tried to keep the essence of the original Cracker Jacks, but make them healthier, less sweet and a little more sophisticated. If you are looking for a dessert that takes about 5 minutes to create, this is the ticket. These modern Cracker Jacks also make a fine afternoon snack when you need a little umph to last until dinner.
Ingredients & Equipment
Here are the ingredients and equipment for this recipe:
Original Cracker Jacks ingredients include sugar, corn syrup and molasses to provide the sweet candy coating. I use date syrup made 100% from dates. While date syrup is still essentially a sugar, dates have many health benefits compared to sugar.
- Fiber and Antioxidants
- Low Glycemic Index
Note: SNFD is an Amazon affiliate and we may make a small commision when you purchase products through our links.I use Just Dates syrup which you can purchase at Amazon, Whole Foods and many health food stores. D'Vash Date Syrup is another good brand that is available on Amazon. Alternatively you can make your own date syrup by simmering dates in water, straining out the fruit to create a date juice and then reducing the juice into a syrup. For me, the convenience of purchasing a bottle of date syrup is well worth it in saved time.
ButterI use unsalted butter for this popcorn. I've been a big fan of Kerrygold for a long time. I choose unsalted so I can control the amount of salt in the popcorn.
Maldon SaltI finish the popcorn with a sprinkling of Maldon salt, which adds crunch as well as salt. With flakey sea salt you can use less salt by weight and you get a little extra crunch. For more information on why I love Maldon salt check out my post on 12 Ingredients that Make Food Delicious.
Trader Joe's Spicy Pecans
In addition to sweet and salty I wanted to add a little heat to this snack. So instead of using peanuts, I added Trader Joe's Sweet and Spicy Pecans.
PopcornAny old fashioned popcorn will work, just skip anything that comes in a microwavable bag.
EquipmentIt is clear that commercial microwave popcorn is not good for you for multiple reasons:
- Microwave bags are coated with a chemical that breaks down to perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) when heated. The EPA has determined that PFOA is a likely carcinogen and may also cause infertility.
- Some microwave popcorn contains diacetyl in the fake butter flavoring. There is some concern that this ingredient can cause lung disease when inhaled. Some brands also use trans fat, which we all know should be avoided.
- Many microwave popcorn brands include a variety of preservatives, chemicals and additives that are plain not good for you.
Photo credit: AmazonA friend of mine gave me this collapsible silicone popcorn popper and I've never looked back. Sure you can make popcorn the old fashioned way with a pan and a little oil, but for absolute ease I recommend this device which allows you to pop enough popcorn for two and does so without any oil or effort, unless you consider pushing the popcorn button on the microwave effort. Silicone is inert and does not contain any dangerous plasticizers. The FDA considers silicone to be a safe cooking material, but because silicone cookware is relatively new, there are not a lot of studies on it. If you want to be 100% safe, stick to cooking your popcorn in a pot the old fashioned way.
I hope you enjoy my take on an old classic snack with this Modern Cracker Jacks recipe. I find it the perfect afternoon pick-me-up as well as a crunchy dessert when I need a little something sweet while TV binging. By the way speaking of TV, have you seen the TV show The Imposters? I'm totally addicted to this weirdly premised show.
Modern Cracker Jacks
Yield 1-4 servings
This tasty and healthy snack is an update on classical Cracker Jacks. I use date syrup, butter, spicy pecans and some flakey salt to make an addictingly good snack or light dessert.
- 1/4 cup popcorn
- 1 - 2 T butter, butter
- 3 - 4 T date syrup
- 1/4 cup Trader Joe's Spiced Candy pecans
- Maldon salt to taste
- Put popcorn in the bottom of the silicone popcorn popper, put the lid on it and push the popcorn setting on your microwave. Alternatively you can pop the corn in a pan with a little bit of oil the old fashioned way.
- Remove the popped corn from the microwave and put it in a bowl. Add the melted butter, date syrup, candied pecans and salt and toss. Enjoy!
Cuisine New American