Cajun Cracker Jack

Cajun Cracker Jack
Staff Writer
Cajun Cracker Jack

Pican

Cajun Cracker Jack

Here's an interesting twist on a classic American snack. Make a large batch of these and take them with you to a ball game — they're perfect for when the munchies strike. 

Click here to see 12 Ways to Spice Up Popcorn.

Ingredients

For the chile butter

  • 1/2  Cup  butter
  • 1  Tablespoon  red chile pepper flakes
  • 1/2  Teaspoon  cayenne

For the popcorn

  • 1/4  Cup  plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3/4  Cups  popcorn kernels
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2  Cup  pecans
  • 1 1/2  Cup  slivered almonds
  • 1/2  Cup  cocoa nibs
  • 1/2  Cup  butter
  • 1/4  Cup  water
  • 1/2  Cup  light corn syrup
  • 4  Cups  sugar
  • 1 1/2  Teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1  Teaspoon  baking soda
  • Cooking spray

Directions

For the chile butter

Combine the butter, red chile pepper flakes, and cayenne in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted. Set aside.

For the popcorn

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the ¼ cup of the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Test with a kernel to see if the oil is hot enough; if it pops, add the remaining kernels and cover with a lid. Shake occasionally, and remove from the heat once the popping slows. Shake, wait a few seconds, and remove the lid. Toss the popcorn with chile butter and season with salt, to taste. Set aside in a large bowl.

In a bowl, toss the pecans and almonds with the remaining oil and season with salt, to taste. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned, for about 7-10 minutes. Distribute the nuts and cocoa nibs evenly over the popcorn.

Combine the butter, water, corn syrup, sugar, and vanilla extract in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until melted together. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook to the hard crack stage.

Then, remove from the heat and add the baking soda, making sure to sprinkle evenly over the top, stirring the baking soda quickly with the handle of a wooden spoon. (This will help avoid splashing and does not incorporate any air into the candy.)

Pour over the popcorn mixture toss until well coated, making sure to break up the clumps. Lightly oil a baking sheet and transfer the popcorn mixture there. Let cool.  

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
41g
59%
Sugar
2g
2%
Saturated Fat
7g
29%
Carbohydrate, by difference
48g
37%
Protein
9g
20%
Vitamin A, RAE
8µg
1%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
2µg
2%
Calcium, Ca
60mg
6%
Choline, total
9mg
2%
Fiber, total dietary
12g
48%
Folate, total
36µg
9%
Iron, Fe
4mg
22%
Magnesium, Mg
80mg
25%
Manganese, Mn
1mg
56%
Niacin
2mg
14%
Phosphorus, P
164mg
23%
Selenium, Se
2µg
4%
Sodium, Na
301mg
20%
Water
9g
0%
Zinc, Zn
2mg
25%

Cajun Shopping Tip

Buy craw fish with the head on as all of the flavor is in the head.

Cajun Cooking Tip

Use dry rubs rather than liquid rubs for a stronger flavor.