96/365: National Caramel Popcorn Day

If you dig the combination of salty and sweet, you’ll be exploding with excitement over today’s food holiday. April 6 is National Caramel Popcorn Day! Funny, we just celebrated caramel yesterday…

Popcorn had been around for awhile when brothers Frederick and Louis Rueckheim, candy entrepreneurs in Chicago, came up with the idea of coating popcorn in molasses and adding peanuts. They debuted their product, which had the snappy name “Candied Popcorn and Peanuts,” at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The molasses proved too sticky, so they went back to the drawing board and eventually developed a process that made the coating crispy and dry and kept the kernels separate. A customer tried a sample in 1896 and exclaimed, “That’s crackerjack!” – turn-of-the-century slang for “that’s really good.” Crackerjack is considered a type of caramel corn because the molasses is caramelized before being poured over the popcorn. See yesterday’s post for information on the caramelization process. Other competitors followed suit, many using caramel instead of molasses, and the caramel corn industry took off, particularly in the 1930s and ’40s. Popular brands include Fiddle Faddle and Crunch ‘n Munch. Nowadays, you can’t go to any farmer’s market or county fair, it seems, without bumping into a caramel popcorn vendor somewhere.

We are in Seattle this weekend, staying with Tara’s mom and celebrating her nephew’s first birthday. We’re having a great time! And yet, the blog is always on our minds, so naturally we made time for some caramel popcorn. Tracy offered to make it for us, and we were more than happy to take her up on the offer. Anytime we can get somebody else to do our dirty work, we do! It looked pretty easy, but took more than just caramel. She whisked in butter, brown sugar, Karo syrup, and vanilla. Dark brown sugar makes it sweeter, while light brown sugar is more subtle. You can use either. And I have to say, it was some of the tastiest caramel corn I’ve ever had! I swear I’m not saying that because Tracy is standing right here…

The art of making caramel popcorn.

The art of making caramel popcorn.

Categories: Snacks | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “96/365: National Caramel Popcorn Day

  1. Momma Tracy

    Oh Mark….thanks buddy!! Always a pleasure to help you two with your food challenge!

    It really is delish…even though you are standing right there!


  2. mom

    That looks soooo good! I love caramel( or carmel) popcorn. The best was Johnson’s carmel corn in Seaside Heights N.J. But I am sure Tracy’s is better.


    • I thought Johnson’s was the one you liked. I don’t know if I’ve ever had it…I’m sure I must have, when I was younger. In any case, Tracy’s was very good.


  3. I love caramel popcorn and thinking I might have to run out to the store to get some of it’s sweet goodness!


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