Gluten Free Dairy Free Crackerjacks

gluten free dairy free crackerjacks recipe
halloween pumpkins


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?
Wrong.
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.
Crackerjacks.
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 dairy free crackerjacks recipe

Gluten Free Crackerjacks

Ingredients
  

  • 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.

Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • Stir.
  • 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.
  • Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
gluten free dairy free crackerjacks recipe
gluten free dairy free crackerjacks recipe
gluten free dairy free crackerjacks recipe

Gluten-Free Caramel Apples

Yum. Caramel apples.
Yummy! Caramel apples.
Can you tell I am excited to talk about caramel apples?
Well I am. Years ago when the kids were young I used to painstakingly peel the wrappers off caramels, melt them and then roll apples into the caramel.
They were so good and I had so much fun rolling them in an assortment of candies and goodies.
I decided that I would make caramel apples again and went looking for caramel to buy and melt. I was shocked at the amount of “unnatural” ingredients that were listed on the labels and decided to make homemade caramel for my apples.
I really enjoy the recipes I see on the blog Edible Perspective and thought I would try her recipe for Pretzel Covered Caramel Apples. They turned out fantastic and of course I added my own touches to the apples.
The molasses in the recipe added a nice richness to the caramel and also a richer color.

gluten free caramel apples
gluten free caramel apples
gluten free caramel apples
gluten free caramel apples
gluten free caramel apples
gluten free caramel apples
gluten free caramel apples
gluten free caramel apples
gluten free caramel apples



Gluten-Free Caramel Apples

Ingredients
  

  • 10-12 small granny smith or gala apples
  • Small bamboo skewers or chopsticks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • Assorted gluten free toppings to roll apples in (unsweetened coconut, crushed gluten free pretzels, sliced almonds, dark chocolate chips)

Instructions
 

  • In a medium saucepan, melt the cream and butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in sugar, syrup and molasses and turn heat to high, bringing the mixture to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to med-low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • To check if the caramel sauce is thick enough, dip a spoon into the sauce and pull it out-if a thick layer of sauce sticks to the spoon then you are good to go.
  • *After 20 minutes the mixture had not gotten thick yet, so I found I had to cook it for another 15 minutes to get it to thicken.
  • Whisk in the vanilla paste.
  • Remove the caramel sauce from the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Carefully dip each apple into the caramel sauce to evenly coat, and let the excess skim off.
  • Roll each caramel apple into the various toppings.
  • Place each apple onto parchment paper to dry.
  • Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Gluten-Free Popcorn Balls

gluten free popcorn balls
Happy Halloween!
I miss Halloween.
How could I miss Halloween when it is here on Monday?
What I miss is celebrating Halloween with my kids, like I did when they were younger.
They are in there 20’s now, so hosting Halloween parties, making Halloween treats for their classmates, and sewing elaborate costumes does not happen anymore. It has not happened for quite awhile actually.
I really enjoyed seeing my kids dressed up, hanging with friends and going tricker- treating. When our kids are younger we so look forward to them growing up, but for a mom like me who enjoyed spending time with her kids and doing holidays big sometimes now, I do get nostalgic.
So, what is a Mom to do? Well for me I have been making Halloween treats that I used to make when my kids were younger and will be sharing 3 of the recipes in succession. I will be sharing popcorn balls, caramel apples and red velvet cupcakes, all gluten free.


Here is the first recipe.
gluten free popcorn balls
gluten free popcorn balls
gluten free popcorn balls
gluten free popcorn balls
gluten free popcorn balls
gluten free popcorn balls
gluten free popcorn balls
gluten free popcorn balls
gluten free popcorn balls

Gluten-Free Popcorn Balls

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 25 cups (or 5 litres) popped popcorn (approx)

Instructions
 

  • Butter sides of a very large bowl that is holding your popcorn, the mixture will be quite sticky and you do not want the sugar mixture to stick to the bowl.
  • Butter sides of a large saucepan.
  • Half fill a small bowl with water.
  • This will be used to dip your hands in to form the hot popcorn mixture and prevents it from sticking to your hands.
  • Attach a good candy thermometer to the side of your saucepan.
  • In saucepan combine the sugar, water, salt, corn syrup and vinegar.
  • Cook over medium heat until the thermometer reaches 250 degrees or the hard ball stage.
  • This takes quite a bit of time, but please, do not walk away from your saucepan.
  •  Stir it regularly and watch closely.
  • Once it reaches the hard ball stage, turn off the heat and add your vanilla.
  • Pour hot mixture over the popped popcorn, stirring to mix well.
  • Dip hands in water bowl and then form popcorn into balls.
  • You need to work quickly for the sugar mixture once it starts cooling will harden.
  • Shape into balls and place balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • This made 16 XL popcorn balls for me.
  • **WARNING!
  • These balls are very addictive and are also very, very sticky!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!