Village Cracker Jacks

A tasty snack evoking pleasant childhood memories.


¼ tsp salt
about 1 Tbsp water

½ cup popcorn kernels
¼ cup groundnuts
oil for roasting

¼ cup sugar
1–2 Tbsp water


Dissolve the salt in a minimum amount of water in a small cup.  Heat a large pan over a hot fire; add the popcorn kernels and about 2 tsp oil to pop.  Stir the popcorn until the kernels begin to pop, then cover the pan and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until most of the kernels are popped.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Separate the popped popcorn from the unpopped kernels and place in a bowl.  Discard the unpopped kernels.

Return the pan to a low fire.  Add the groundnuts and about 2 tsp oil to the pot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the groundnuts are roasted.  When the groundnuts are ready, they will be slightly darker and aromatic, but the most reliable way to know that they are done is to taste them.  Immediately add the saltwater and cook with stirring until the liquid is all gone and the roasted groundnuts are coated with salt.  Remove from the heat.  Add the popped popcorn back to the pot.

Combine the sugar and water in a small pot.  Place the pot over a low to medium fire.  Heat with stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Continue heating with occasional stirring as the syrup boils and thickens, to the soft-ball stage.  When the spoon is raised, the syrup should drip back slowly, and a drop of the syrup dropped into cool water can be formed into a soft ball with your fingers.

When the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, immediately remove it from the heat and pour it over the popcorn and groundnuts in the large pot.  Stir with a long-handled spoon to coat the popcorn and peanuts with the syrup.  As the syrup cools, it will harden.  The “Cracker Jacks” are ready to eat immediately, or can be stored for later snacking.


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Copyright © 2017, Richard Barrans
Revised: 14 Sep 2017; Maintained by Richard Barrans.