I know for some it was all about the prize at the bottom of the box, but for me it was all about that crunchy-sweet caramel popcorn and peanuts. Back in the day, I could eat an entire box of Cracker Jack in about a minute flat. Now when the craving strikes, I just whip up a big batch of this healthier version of the old-time favorite. Of course, I now have to fight for my fair share with two boys who have no idea there’s supposed to be a prize at the bottom!
This recipe was featured on Turner Broadcasting System’s upwave website. For more delicious game-day snacks, be sure to check out their special post “7 Healthy Game Day Finger Foods.” You can also find MORE healthy snacks here as well.
- 10 cups of unsalted organic popcorn (homemade popcorn is best!)
- 1 cup of your favorite crispy nuts (we like a combo of almonds and peanuts)
- 4 tbsp of butter, plus extra for baking sheet
- 1/2 cup rapadura or sucanat (affiliate link)
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp filtered water
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Warm a 12x17-inch rimmed baking sheet in oven for about 3 minutes. Remove and butter the warmed pan, then set aside. In a very large bowl, add the popcorn and nuts, toss to combine and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring butter, rapadura (or sucanat), salt and water to a gentle boil while stirring constantly with a wood spoon. Carefully drizzle popcorn with hot caramel, using wooden spoon to stir and toss the popcorn and nuts as you drizzle. Continue to toss the popcorn until the caramel is well distributed.
- Spread the popcorn evenly across buttered baking sheet. Bake about 35-40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or so. Popcorn will become crispy and shiny when done. Transfer hot popcorn to a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool as shown below. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Make it even healthier by making your own homemade stovetop popcorn.
I have to be honest. I printed out this recipe, purchased the supplies and determined to make this snack. I am making the switch from using processed foods (from however little we were already consuming) to all homemade and decided to begin here. I was sure that the ‘cracker jacks’ would taste healthy and very unlike the real thing and when I opened my bag of Sucanat I was convinced. It has a very ‘healthy’ food smell to it. I went ahead and made the cracker jacks, deciding to feed it to the kids if it was gross (they aren’t picky,) and I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is fantastic. No, seriously, fantastic. I had several friends try it and even my husband (who is very anti-healthy food and very pro-junk food) and we unanimously agreed that it is even better than the real thing. Fantastic. I will be making more tomorrow as we are clean out. Thank you so much for the recipe. 🙂
Whew, you had me worried there at the opening – LOL! 🙂 So glad you enjoyed it! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a kind note! Lots of blessings to you on your journey to healthier eating! Blessings, Kelly 🙂
I am so excited to find this recipe! It has only been a couple of weeks since I bean my transition into better eating, and caramel corn had been put to my forbidden list. Whew! Thank you for sharing this! I am anxious to experiment. Where do you find your ingredients? I live in a very small town about 80 miles away from any “city” .
Most ingredients I use on this site can be found at whole food type markets. If you don’t have a store like that in your area, then the internet will definitely be your best friend in acquiring these whole food ingredients. Amazon carries a lot of the real foodie ingredients and of course you can shop around on the internet as well to look for the best deals. Another option is to see if there are any food co-ops in your area? I love Azure Standard, they carry a ton of whole foods at really great prices, depending on where you live, they may have a co-op in your area (www.azurestandard.com). Lots of blessings to you in your journey to healthier living! 🙂 Kelly
Thank you, Kelly! I did not mean to use the word “bean” in my comment! Thought I was typing began? Sorry! I will check out the venues you mentioned for purchasing some of these products – especially the flours. They are nowhere in my local area! Keep up the great work!
No worries, Bonnie, I knew what you meant. So glad to be of help! There is always the internet for finding these ingredients and you can find some good deals out there, including free shipping on Amazon. Lots of blessings, Kelly 🙂
Rachel Salcido says
Can you use honey instead of the water and sugar or will the finished product be too sticky?
I’ve never tried it using honey, you’d need to tinker around to get it right. Sugar is used to make caramel and results in a crunchy sweet coating, so I substituted with rapadura which is pure unprocessed evaporated cane sugar juice. If you’re going to eat sugar, it’s the healthy alternate to refined white and brown sugars. 🙂 Blessings, Kelly
This looks delicious! I absolutely love caramel corn, but for some reason have never added the nuts (although I loved Cracker Jack as a kid). So happy to have found your blog! 🙂
Awesome, I’m so glad you found me too! Hope you enjoy this recipe and the others I’m sharing here. Blessings, Kelly 🙂
I use maple sugar in a lot of recipes that call for sugar, it is organic and I get it right from the farm, do you think that this would work in this recipe?
It may make the popcorn a bit soggy, but it you try it and have success, please let us know. 🙂