Homemade Cracker Jack

3 tbsp. canola oil
1/2 c un-popped popcorn
1/2 c (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 c dark brown sugar*
1/2 c corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c salted peanuts

Heat the canola oil over a medium high heat with 3 kernels of corn. When they pop add the remaining popcorn and cover, leaving the lid propped open (to allow steam to escape). Shake the pot until all the popcorn has popped, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan, stir in sugar and syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Cook 8 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in salt, vanilla, and baking powder (stir quickly and carefully as the syrup will foam up!) Stir in the peanuts and popcorn, make sure they are coated thoroughly. Spread the mixture out on a greased baking sheet to cool completely.
Once it has cooled break apart into clusters or bite size pieces. Keep in a ziploc bag, stays fresh for at least a week! (if it lasts that long)

*Use dark brown sugar for that familiar Cracker Jack taste. Use light brown sugar if you're not a big fan of molasses, it will still taste great!
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