Friday, February 26, 2010

Homemade Cracker Jacks for Bakeroose

In case you didn't hear about my newest adventure, my little guys started a cooking blog just for kids. It is on it's way to becoming a fun place for younglings to go and find ideas about cooking as well as parents, grandparents, caregivers, and "beginning cooks". If you like what you see and want to have your kids send their cooking adventures our way, we are very open to posting them on the blog. Today was it! Yes IT.

We officially had our first Bakeroose cooking class today with all the kid chefs and moms. It was outstanding! I, Chef Tess, was exceptionally pleased with how much our Bakeroose have already learned! Measuring and kitchen math are coming along. We got in some science as well. Not bad for a quick one hour class, right? What a great way to kick off our grandest of grand adventures in kid cooking. Would you like to join us? Here's your chance...( a direct copy of what is over there right now...and yes it is written for kids to understand.)

Have you ever had Cracker Jacks from the store? They come in a box. We sing a song about them at baseball games. Did you ever think in a million years that you could make them at home with your mom or dad? This one has to be made with an adult who's responsible and won't let you get burned. Find one first before you start this recipe. I think you will have a lot of fun. The first thing all good chefs do is gather their ingredients all to one place so they don't forget anything when they are cooking. Get everything in it's place and measured before you cook, and you will have a lot more fun...since you won't forget a very important ingredient! We can't have that happen, right?

Homemade Cracker Jacks
("Cracker Jacks" is a registered TM of Frito Lay, by offering this recipe I am in no way saying that I am affiliated with Frito Lay or any of it's company recipes. This recipe is merely a representation of the flavors I find in their product.)
you will need:
2o cups of popped popcorn (measure after popping should be 20 cups...use microwave popcorn or homemade)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
3 cups peanuts (unsalted)
Measuring cups, spoons, large one gallon pot, 2 large cookie sheets with edges to hold the popcorn, 3 gallon size metal or heat proof mixing bowl, 1 large wooden spoon, 2 large paper grocery bags (unused) or 5-6 paper lunch bags.

Do you want to know a random fact? Popcorn explodes and becomes the fluffy stuff we like to eat when the small amount of moisture inside the seed kernel gets hot enough to explode out of the shell. I bet you didn't know you where eating exploded seeds when you ate popcorn.

Have an adult Turn your oven on to 350 degrees.
If you are allowed to use the stove, carefully put the butter, sugar and molasses in the pot. Turn on the heat to medium and once the butter is melted and the stuff starts to boil, turn on a timer for 4 minutes. Do not stir it. While it cooks, get the popcorn in the 3 gallon mixing bowl.

When your timer goes off, add the condensed milk, vanilla and peanuts to the pot of cooked stuff. Stir just until combined. Set your timer for 2 minutes and keep cooking on medium heat. When the 2 minutes is up...have an adult pour the sugar peanut mixture over the cooked popcorn in a large bowl.

Mix well to coat.

Divide the popcorn onto the two cookie sheets...again, this is hot so let an adult do this part.
Have an adult put the cookie sheets in the oven. Set the timer for 7 minutes. When the timer goes off, have an adult stir the popcorn. Set the timer for 8 minutes. Close the oven. When the timer goes off, have an adult take the cookie sheets out of the oven.

When popcorn is still hot, have an adult scoop popcorn into the grocery bags or divide it between the lunch sacks. Let them sit for 3 minutes. carefully fold over the top of the bag and begin to shake. Adults, make sure it is cool enough to touch the bags!! Shaking helps the cracker jacks from sticking together.
It is also really fun!
After you have shaken the bag for about 2 minutes, the popcorn should be cool enough to touch. Have an adult check for you to see if it's ready.
Try to run around the back yard a few times after you eat this to burn off all the sugar. Your mom will be glad you did.

There you go. Oh...and here's a little clip of what we did...not even a minute, but a good glimpse.

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