Ballpark Favorites: Homemade Cracker Jack & Soft Pretzels

standard February 20, 2014 2 responses

It may have been snowing outside, but the spirit of baseball and Spring was keeping us warm this past weekend for Mrs. G’s Trenton Thunder Pick Up Party (for Mini Plan ticket holders). 

Mrs. G's Trenton Thunder Pick Up Party

Cooking in the Jenn-Air suite of appliances, I served up some ballpark favorites of Homemade Cracker Jack and Soft Pretzels. I also threw in a curve ball with a little winter warmup of Beef Chili with Butternut Squash and Black Beans.

It was a great day for Trenton Thunder fans to come by and pick up their tickets, get a picture with Boomer, and see all the great sales going on at Mrs. G’s.

The day finished with a home run for a couple in the store shopping for a new wall oven…
After seeing the Jenn-Air Double Wall Oven with V2 Vertical Dual-Fan Convection System in use making the soft pretzels and cracker jack, they liked it so much, they bought one!


Homemade Cracker Jack
Yields 10
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
  1. • 10-12 cups of popped Popcorn (about ¾ cups unpopped when using a stove top popper or 3 bags of microwave popcorn - plain)*
  2. • 1 ¼ cups Dark Brown Sugar
  3. • ¼ cup Light Corn Syrup
  4. • ¼ cup Molasses
  5. • 12 tablespoons unsalted Butter, cut into pieces about 1 tablespoon each
  6. • 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
  7. • 1 cup Spanish Peanuts
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn in a large, deep baking or roasting pan (selecting a size which will allow easy coating of the popcorn and turning it during baking without it spilling out of the pan.)
  2. 2. In a medium-large sauce pan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, butter and salt. Bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring constantly with a whisk to melt sugar and fully combine all ingredients.
  3. 3. Continue to whisk mixture for 1-2 minutes following the sugar melting.
  4. 4. Sprinkle the peanuts on the popcorn. Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and peanuts and turn the popcorn over in the caramel sauce to fully coat, scooping any up from the bottom of the pan onto the popcorn.
  5. 5. Place in the preheated oven. Every 10-15 minutes, remove the pan and scoop any caramel from the bottom of the pan back into the popcorn to coat the popcorn thoroughly. Return to the oven. Continue this process 3-4 times until the popcorn has cooked for about 45 minutes.
  6. 6. Turn popcorn out in a single layer onto parchment or wax paper and allow to cool fully.
Mrs. G's Appliance Chef
Homemade Soft Pretzels
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  1. • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  2. • 1 tablespoon sugar
  3. • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  4. • 1 package active dry yeast
  5. • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  6. • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  7. • Vegetable oil, for pan
  8. • 8 cups water
  9. • 1/4 cup Kosher Salt
  10. • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  11. • Pretzel salt
  1. 1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. 2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
  3. 3. Bring the 8 cups of water and the ¼ cup of kosher salt to a rolling boil in an 2-quart saucepan.
  4. 4. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
  5. 5. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Mrs. G's Appliance Chef
Beef Chili With Butternut Squash & Black Beans
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  1. • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  2. • 1 tablespoon cumin
  3. • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  4. • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  5. • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  6. • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  7. • 1 pound beef chuck or stewing meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  8. • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  9. • 1 cup seeded and chopped red bell pepper
  10. • 1 28 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  11. • 1 tablespoon chipoltes in adobo
  12. • 3 cloves garlic, grated on rasp or finely minced
  13. • 1 pound ground chuck (80% lean)
  14. • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  15. • 1 28 ounce can black beans – drained and rinsed
  16. • One 1 1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes approximately 3 cups cubed)
  1. 1. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, oregano, pumpkin pie spice, 2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  2. 2. In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, beef cubes and half of the seasoning. Cook until the beef is browned on all sides but not cooked through, about 7 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
  3. 3. Add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic to pot. Stir and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. 4. Add the ground chuck and sprinkle over the remaining seasoning.
  5. 5. Stir and cook until the beef is browned, and then add the reserved beef chunks back to the pot along with the fire roasted tomatoes, chipoltes in adobo, beef stock, black beans and squash.
  6. 6. Raise the heat until it comes to a boil, and then lower to a simmer.
  7. 7. Cover and cook until the beef is tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover and let the chili cook until it is thick and the liquid is reduced, another 15 minutes.
Mrs. G's Appliance Chef


Chef Vance Slocum Follow on Instagram at

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