Monday, April 7, 2014

Cracker Jack Bread

Have you ever had (or do you even remember) Cracker Jack? It's still around, but what was once a must-have at every baseball game has fallen by the wayside popularity-wise. I'll always remember my dad using their catchphrase "peanuts, popcorn and a prize" to refer to an olio of items or situations. 

The Boy Scouts near me were selling packages of their signature Kettle Corn (which is to die for, albeit not great nutritionally) at the mall the other day, and I grabbed a pack out of nostalgia than anything else. When I got home, I was stuck with the question as to what to do with my impulse buy - eating it was out thanks to my food intolerances, and it was a little early to start Christmas garlands. A little Googling led me to a recipe that sounded absolutely perfect for my haul - Popcorn Bread.

You can thank Marcy Goldman for the original inspiration, since she wrote about her Hot & Buttery Popcorn Bread in A Passion for Baking, but of course I needed to make it my own. With the sweet, sticky Kettle Corn at my disposal, I started thinking about Cracker Jack and how I could incorporate all those elements into a loaf. I bumped up the sweetness with some honey and stevia, cracked in an egg and finished it all off with a handful of chopped, toasted peanuts. The loaf crowned beautifully over the pan, baking up golden and smelling of everything good about the snack food.

Cracker Jack BreadAs I was taking my prize out of the oven, my mom walked in and asked what type of bread I had created this time. When I said "popcorn bread", though, the look on my mom's face (and her subsequent doubts as to the taste it would have) had me second guessing - had I really wasted the time and energy on something she would hate? Bless her, though, she had a piece the next morning with breakfast... and another two with lunch. In fact, half the loaf disappeared before she admitted that she had prejudged the recipe and in fact was really enjoying it!

Even if you've never dug into a bag of peanuts, popcorn and a prize, I challenge you to give this bread a shot. Who knows, it might become your new breakfast staple - and how often can you claim popcorn as part of a nutritious breakfast?

Shared with YeastSpotting.

Cracker Jack Bread

Cracker Jack Bread
Makes one 9x5" loaf, 16 slices
cup warm water
cup warm milk
½ tbsp instant yeast
2 packets Pure Via Stevia and Turbinado Sugar Blend (or 2 tsp brown sugar)
2 tbsp honey
½ tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter
1 ½ cups whole wheat bread flour
1 cup all purpose flour
0.6 oz popped Kettle Korn, run through a food processor until fine
⅓ cup chopped peanuts
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flours, yeast and Pure Via. 
  2. Add the water, milk, honey, salt, egg and butter.
  3. Knead for 10 minutes on medium speed. Add the kettle corn and peanuts and knead a further 5 minutes.
  4. Cover and let rest 40 minutes.
  5. Deflate dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
  6. Shape into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9x5” loaf pan.
  7. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until loaves are golden brown.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 116.9
Total Fat: 3.7 g
Cholesterol: 16.0 mg
Sodium: 23.8 mg
Total Carbs: 18.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.9 g
Protein: 3.8 g