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Catholic Recipe: Cracker Jack


  • 2 cups popcorn (unpopped) kernels
  • 1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup lard or shortening
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 6 tbl. light corn syrup
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. soda


Prep Time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: • •

Cost: N/A

For Ages:11+



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Always a family favorite, especially with young children.


Pope 2 cups corn and discard unpoppe kernels. Mix corn with peanuts, salt. Melt butter and lard or shortening in a pan; add brown sugar, corn syrup, salt and cream of tartar. Cook, stirring until sugar is dissolved - when mixture will form firm ball when tested in cold water. Add soda; stir just enough to mix well. Pour over the corn and nuts. Mix well. Form into balls, if desired. Best left "loose" when there are a multitude of children. This is a great surprise touch for many family picnics.

We pop corn this easy way: first, keep corn in icebox or someplace where it is well-chilled. Melt about 2 tbl. oil in heavy skillet; let heat then add 1/2 cup popcorn. Cover pan and let cook over medium heat, shaking pan now and then. When you think all corn has popped (don't wait for the very last kernel or it may burn), pour into bowl, salt, and if you wish, pour melted oleo over it.

Recipe Source: Holy Housewifery Cookbook by Ethel Marbach, Abbey Press, Saint Meinrad, Indiana, 1968