It’s almost Halloween here.
Halloween used to be big in our house when the kids were young. I loved making homemade Halloween costumes and usually hosted a Halloween party too. Caramel apples, popcorn balls, witches fingers, grapes in slimy jello bowls.
It all was fun for me.
Well, except when it was snowing and freezing outside.
That I did not like.
Bundling us all up, covering the costumes with snow pants and boots and trudging from house to house in the cold. No fun!
I’ll never forget a friend of my daughter one Halloween. A group of girls were all going to be cats. We had sewed cat costumes for them and they were so excited to go out.
Well, it snowed. Not only did it snow the temperature dropped to -10C. Much too cold for the girls to go out just in their costumes. Thinking the girls would still be able to show off their costumes we dressed them up with their coats and snow pants under their costumes. That would be great right?
I’ll never forget what one of the girls said.
“I said I wanted to be a cat for Halloween, but not a fat cat.”
Out of the mouths of babes.
All my kids are adults now so Halloween isn’t the same for me but I still give out Halloween candy to the kids at the door.
This year I am making sure the candy I give out is gluten free too.
Do you give out candy?
Are you a fan of Halloween?
With Halloween around the corner I decided to adapt a childhood treat into a gluten free dairy free version.
If you are young you might not know what they are but it was a caramel popcorn with peanuts that came in a box.
I wanted to make a version of crackerjacks that you could make for a Halloween party or at Christmas time give out as a homemade gift.
Great idea right?
This really is an easy recipe to make, the only thing you must have though is a good quality candy thermometer. When you are making any type of caramel or candy treat, the temperature of the mixture on the stove is very important to how your candy will turn out.
Gluten Free Crackerjacks
- 2 tbsp molasses (I used Crosby Molasses that is gluten free)
- 3/4 cup Earth Balance vegan “butter”
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp good quality vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup unsalted raw peanuts
- option of Maldon Sea Salt to sprinkle on popcorn while baking.
- 10 cups of air popped popcorn.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Place popcorn in a large bowl.
- In a large saucepan heat the vegan butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses and salt to medium heat.
- Place a candy thermometer onto side of saucepan.
- Stir and heat mixture on medium heat until candy thermometer reaches 250 degrees.
- Watch the mixture closely.
- You may have to turn the heat down slightly so as not to burn the caramel mixture.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla and baking soda.
- The mixture will rise a lot once baking soda is added.
- Quickly add the caramel to the popcorn and stir.
- Add the peanuts and stir again.
- Pour the caramel popcorn on the cookie sheet and spread out evenly.
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring the popcorn every 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool.