Borden Cracker Jack copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Borden Cracker Jack

Score: 4.83. Votes: 6
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In 1871 a German immigrant named F. W. Rueckheim came to Chicago with $200 in his pocket. He used all of his money to open a small popcorn shop in the city and started selling a sweet caramel-and-molasses-coated popcorn confection. Rueckheim's big break came in 1893, when the treat was served at Chicago's first world's fair. From then on the popcorn's popularity grew enormously. In 1896 a salesman tasting the treat for the first time said, "That's a cracker jack," and the name stuck. Shortly after Cracker Jacks debut another customer commented, "The more you eat, the more you want," and that's still the slogan today.

In 1912 the Cracker Jack Company started adding toy surprises, ranging from small books to miniature metal toy trains. To date they have given away more than 17 billion toy surprises. In 1964 Borden, Inc. bought the Cracker Jack Company, and today the Cracker Jack division is the largest user of popcorn in the world, popping more than twenty tons of corn a day. 

Check out my clones for Fiddle FaddlePoppycockScreaming Yellow Zonkers, and Crunch N' Munch

Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • 4 quarts popped popcorn
  • (or 1 1/3 bags microwave popcorn)
  • 1 cup Spanish peanuts
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
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    • Instructions

      1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

      2. Combine the popcorn and peanuts in a metal bowl or on a cookie sheet and place in the preheated oven.

      3. Combine all of the remaining ingredients in a saucepan.

      4. Stirring over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil.

      5. Using a cooking thermometer, bring the mixture to 290 degrees F, or just under the hard-crack stage, the point at which the syrup, when dripped into cold water, forms a hard but pliable ball. This will take about 20 to 25 minutes (or until you notice the mixture turning a slightly darker brown).

      6. Remove the popcorn and peanuts from the oven and, working quickly, pour the caramel mixture in a fine stream over them. Then place them back in the oven for 10 minutes.

      7. Mix well every five minutes, so that all of the popcorn is coated.

      8. Cool and store in a covered container to preserve freshness.

      Makes 4 quarts.

Average rating:

Score: 4.83. Votes: 6
Rating of votes (6)
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Mar 4, 2016, 22:00

Tastes great. Wouldn't change a thing!

May 1, 2013, 22:00

Delicious! Easy to make. Crispy. Delicious. Only thing missing was the Toy Surprise!

I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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