Homemade Cracker Jacks

16 cups fresh popped corn
2 cups roasted Spanish peanuts
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Toss peanuts and popcorn in large mixing bowl.
2. In heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
3. Whisk in brown sugar, corn syrup, and molasses.
4. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally for about 6 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda.
6. Working quickly, pour hot caramel over popcorn and gently toss until all pieces are evenly coated.
7. Divide the popcorn mixture in half between 2 greased cookie sheets spreading into a thin layer. 
8. Bake in 250 degree oven for 40 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes. 
9. After popcorn has cooled, break up into small pieces using your hands. 
10. Store in airtight container up to 3 days. 

Adapted from The Kitchen.

Cracker Jacks are an American icon. They have even made their way into one of baseball's most popular songs, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." As a child, I loved digging for the prize at the bottom of the box. This recipe for crunchy caramel popcorn could not be better. Just about everything is better homemade, Cracker Jacks are no exception. 

If serving kids or having a baseball themed party, place a small prize in 2 X 2 plastic resealable bags. Some ideas include toy rings, small plastic frogs, small stickers. Divide the Cracker Jacks into individual popcorn boxes and wrap in cellophane to keep everything in place. Tie with red raffia.