Old-fashioned Cracker Jacks
3 (3.5 ounce) bags microwave freshly-popped popcorn
2 cups roasted & salted peanuts
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Toss the popcorn and peanuts together in a large mixing bowl.
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reads 250 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 6 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda.
Working quickly and carefully; pour the hot caramel over the popcorn mixture and toss until all the pieces are coated. Use a wooden spoon sprayed with Pam until it’s cool enough to toss with your hands.
Divide the popcorn mixture in half between 2 greased baking sheets; spread into a thin layer.
Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, for 50 minutes. Sprinkle Cracker Jack with a little sea salt and allow to cool in pans for 20 minutes.
Separate the popcorn into individual pieces with your hands before serving.