Quacker Jacks

Quacker jacks

Duck bacon and duck fat turn this caramel corn into a savory treat.

Fourth Place 2014 Chef Recipe Contest, Chef Tom Chamot, New York Wine and Culinary Center, Canandaigua, NY


  • 2

    5 oz. Popping Corn Kernels

  • 3

    2 cups Lightly Salted Peanuts

  • 4

    2 cups Light Brown Sugar

  • 5

    1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup

  • 6

    8 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted

  • 7

    1/2 tsp. Salt

  • 8

    2 Tbsp. Cold Water

  • 9

    1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract

  • 10

    1 tsp. Baking Soda

  • 11

    Non-stick cooking spray, as needed


  • 1

    Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet pan, or two, with parchment paper or pan spray and set aside.

  • 2

    Cut the duck bacon into 1/2-inch pieces. Cook the duck bacon in a large frying pan over medium high heat until slightly crisp and set aside. Pour the reserved duck bacon fat into a large cooking pot with a lid.

  • 3

    Pop the popcorn kernels in the duck bacon fat over high heat while continuously shaking the pot for about 5 minutes or until the popping noise stops. Make sure the lid is on tight. Coat a large mixing bowl with non-stick cooking spray and then transfer the popped popcorn to the bowl; set aside. Sprinkle the peanuts on the popped corn.

  • 4

    In a small saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and water; bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Continue to simmer on low, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 250°F on a candy thermometer, just above soft ball stage, or about 4-5 minutes.

  • 5

    Turn off the heat and whisk in the vanilla and baking soda. Immediately pour the hot caramel mixture over the popcorn mixture. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the caramel into the popcorn until all of the popcorn is coated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet(s), spreading it out to one layer. (Using your hands here helps. Wear food safe gloves and lightly spray them with pan coating so the caramel doesn't stick.)

  • 6

    Bake in the oven for 1 hour at 250°F, stirring every 20 minutes. Add the reserved duck bacon after 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently break up the Quacker Jacks for serving. Serve immediately in baskets, bowls or small paper bags, or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. For nostalgia, if you are serving in small paper bags, be sure to include a fun prize inside like a small dime-store toy!

This should yield about 10-15 cups of tasty Duck Bacon Quacker Jacks.


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