a place setting in time: caramel corn & cracker jack recipe

a place setting in time: caramel corn

We aren’t baseball aficionados, but you don’t have to be to appreciate the subject of our Place in Time Post: “The Sultan of Swat”, otherwise known as “The Bambino” or “The Babe”, played his last game of baseball on May 30, 1935 and officially retired on June 2, 1935 after an amazing 22 season career. He played in 10 World Series and hit 714 home runs; a record that remained unbroken until 1974 when “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron hit his 715th home run on April 8th. The Babe hit 60 home runs in one season (1927) of 154 games. It wasn’t until 1961 that Roger Maris broke that record. (This record has always been controversial with fans as Maris played 162 games to The Babe’s 154.)The Sultan of Swat’s career batting percentage of .690 is still the highest in the history of the Major Leagues. In 1936, the Baseball Hall of Fame was inaugurated and George Herman Ruth, The Babe, was one of its first five inductees.

George Herman Ruth, Jr. was born on February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys which was run by the Roman Catholic Church. He learned to play baseball at this school and was an outstanding athlete. He was recruited by the Baltimore Orioles and then went to a minor league team for the Boston Red Sox. It is there that Ruth got his nickname “Babe”.

Babe Ruth was a left –handed pitcher and outfielder. He became a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, making his Major League debut in July 1914. In 1920 Ruth was traded to the New York Yankees, where he became a legend. The Boston Red Sox would rue the day that they let The Babe get away as his departure began “the curse of the Bambino”. The Red Sox did not win another World Series until 2004. The New York Yankees, because of their popularity due to the incredible talent on the team and the stardom of Babe Ruth, had to build a new stadium to accommodate the larger crowds. This stadium would be known as “The House That Ruth Built”.

There is no other baseball player, that when you utter his name to anyone in the USA, will be as recognizable. Say his name to the person most disinterested in baseball and they will tell you who he is and that is what makes a legend. George Herman Ruth left his mark on the game of baseball in a way that we have never seen before or after his career. He is still regarded as the best baseball player in history.

“Take me out to the ball game;
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.”
-The chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” by Jack Norworth

What do we love to eat at baseball games? Ok, besides hot dogs… caramel corn. We know it as Cracker Jack and we love it. So why not make your own?! You don’t have to love baseball to love caramel corn.

Fun Fact: Cracker Jack was named by “an enthusiastic sampler who remarked, “That’s crackerjack!” (a colloquialism meaning “of excellent quality)”

Caramel Corn

Ingredients:

  • 3 qts popped popcorn
  • 3 cups unsalted mixed nuts (or peanuts)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup Karo light or dark corn syrup
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions

  1. Spray large shallow roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine popcorn and nuts in pan; place in 250° oven while preparing syrup.
  2. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, without stirring. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour over warm popcorn mixture, stirring to coat thoroughly.
  3. Bake at 250° for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Cool, break apart. Place in an air tight container to store.

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51 comments

  • June 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm //

    Wow! That’s a handful of sinfully delicious caramel plesure!

    • June 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm //

      Thank you Mingle = )

  • June 3, 2012 at 12:51 am //

    I haven’t had cracker jack popcorn in forever, can’t wait to give this a try!

    • June 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm //

      It’s been ages for us too, I used to love getting the prizes in the boxes!

  • June 3, 2012 at 6:33 am //

    A super recipe and some baseball history! The caramel corn looks so crunchy it´s worth trying.

    • June 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm //

      Thank you Paula = )

  • June 3, 2012 at 9:22 am //

    Yummmm. Love this whole post. Can’t wait to try my hand at Cracker Jack…

    • June 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm //

      Thank you, we think you’ll love the homemade version =)

  • June 3, 2012 at 10:06 am //

    Wow, I drool over the rich, golden color of your popcorn. These look amazing. :)

    • June 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm //

      Thank you Rose = )

  • June 3, 2012 at 11:17 am //

    What a classic beauty!!! I need this for weekend movies ;)

    • June 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm //

      What movie will you see this weekend? Any tips?

  • June 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm //

    Wow…so beautiful! Can’t wait to make these and share with my family.

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:15 am //

      Thank you Raji.

  • June 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm //

    I love this, tried to make it once and it was a big failure LOL. Your recipe sounds easier so I’ll try it soon, thanks.

    You are welcome to join in my monthly food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here offering a new theme each month. All bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:14 am //

      Hi Debs, give this another go, please let us know how it turns out = ) We are thinking of adding some cashew nuts to the mix next time = )

  • June 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm //

    I have never been a fan of baseball and actually find the game rather boring BUT I love the facts and love the personalities, especially Babe Ruth. This is truly a great post! And I grew up eating and loving Cracker Jacks… it may have been (and may still be) my favorite snack. Yours look amazing! Amazing!

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:14 am //

      Yes, and all the fabulous prizes at the bottom of the box too = )

  • June 4, 2012 at 1:37 am //

    First of all I love your story of The Babe! I’m not a huge baseball fan but I love baseball movies and The Babe is always the benchmark. The hubby is a HUGE fan of all the old players so he’ll love this post! I do need to point out a typo. You transposed the 8 and 9 in his birth year. He was born in 1895, not 1985. Sorry. Whenever we were allowed to buy a snack at the dime store, I always picked Cracker Jacks!!! I gave away the price because the caramel corn was SO good! Thank you so much for sharing a recipe for making this delicious caramel corn! Can’t wait to get it stuck to my teeth! :)

    • June 4, 2012 at 7:42 am //

      opps = ) Thank you for the typo catch =) I will get that fixed straight away.

  • June 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm //

    Yum…your caramel corn looks perfect and I want a bowl in my hands now. I’m not a huge fan of ball games but I definitely love to eat! :P I don’t think I even need the TV on if I have a bowl of your perfect caramel corn in my hands. :P

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:13 am //

      Me neither, the only thing that made going to a game do-able, was the concession stands.

  • June 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm //

    What a neat idea and one that isn’t commonly asociated with summer but I see the connection. Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:12 am //

      Thank you, we are giddy with excitement, we’ve been trying to make the top 9 for a long time now = )

  • June 4, 2012 at 8:06 pm //

    Yum! I love Cracker Jack – especially the little prize in the bottom of the box! This is a must make! Thanks for sharing. And – congrats on the Top Nine!

    • June 4, 2012 at 9:28 pm //

      Thank you, we just heard we made the top 9!!! So exciting. We’ve been trying for a while now. I think the prize I remember is a Topper and some sort of plastic ring “giggles”

  • June 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm //

    Mmmmm…..sooo caramelly! I don’t watch much sports but i sure can do with a huge bowl of that corn :)

    • June 4, 2012 at 9:27 pm //

      Give me the caramel corn over watching sports any day “wink”

  • June 4, 2012 at 10:13 pm //

    I have been wanting to make my own caramel pop corn, now I have no excuse. this looks easy enough. I love this stuff and anything with caramel. Great recipe and Congrats on the Top 9.

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:12 am //

      Thank you Suzi!!! Totally trumps store bought =)

  • June 5, 2012 at 12:55 am //

    This look soooo super delicious. Caramel corn brings back so many fond memories of going to baseball games. Great post.

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:11 am //

      Thank you Dara, do you have a favorite team?

  • June 5, 2012 at 12:55 am //

    I recall the fun of digging my way though a box of Cracker Jack, searching for the hidden trinket. More often than not, I would give them to my brothers. I never thought to recreate our childhood treat! What a splendid idea! Since we are close to San Francisco we have seen The Giants play on occasion. The food concessions are an endless array of treats!

    • June 5, 2012 at 7:42 am //

      Yes, the trinkets! The trinkets I remember was those easily removable tattoo’s, toppers, and plastic rings = ) Being a kid from the 80′s, I remember walking up to the neighborhood super in Brooklyn and grabbing a box and if I had enough money I earned from doing my chores, a Nutty Buddy?

  • June 5, 2012 at 3:13 am //

    Love the history here! Not a huge baseball fan, but I do love stats! :-) Homemade crackerjacks! Yummy!! And it looks so easy too, I’ll be making this for a family movie night for sure!

    • June 5, 2012 at 7:43 am //

      Totally not a baseball fan either, I can appreciate the history, but last I went to a game… I couldn’t wait for the last inning to finish! “gah” But the concession stands made it do-able!

  • June 5, 2012 at 6:33 am //

    I love Caramel Corn:) This recipe sounds fantastic! I have saved this recipe for “near” future cooking. Thanks for the great post and Congratulations on Foodbuzz Top 9!

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:11 am //

      Thank you, we are so giddy with excitement = )

  • June 5, 2012 at 6:56 am //

    I love caramel corn, and it’s a sentimental favorite of mine since it was my dad’s favorite snack. Pinning to make it soon. Congrats on making Top 9!!!

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:09 am //

      Thank you, that is so fabulous that we made the Top 9!!! We’ve been trying = )

  • June 5, 2012 at 11:09 am //

    such a luscious looking snack,
    Now I feel like watching a movie!

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:08 am //

      A movie sounds good to me, waiting for a few to come out on rental = )

  • June 5, 2012 at 11:23 am //

    I love this!! The post and the caramel corn! I used to love eating Cracker Jacks, but I’m sure this homemade version is so much better!

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:08 am //

      Yah..totally, I wonder, do they even sell cracker jack anymore? I can’t seem to find it?

  • June 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm //

    Wow, i want try this, i search for a lot time this recipe!
    If you want visit my website, i have a popcorn recipe too.

  • June 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm //

    Great, i must try this!
    Visit my website, i have a recipe with popcorn too!

    • June 6, 2012 at 8:06 am //

      We sure will, thank you Daniela!

  • June 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm //

    I never liked Cracker Jacks as a kid–but then, the caramel corn never looked as good as yours does!

    • June 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm //

      You’ll love the homemade version = )

  • June 7, 2012 at 10:24 am //

    I love all the fun facts! This caramel corn looks perfect for summery ballgames!

  • June 14, 2012 at 5:07 am //

    Wow! This looks amazing! Definitely on my “to do” list this weekend. Cracker Jacks is one of my favorite snacks.