Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cracker Jack ice cream sundae, a dessert my dad would have loved

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My dad was a sugar addict. I don't use the word "addict" lightly, but when it came to my dad and candy, addiction is the only way to describe it.

Daddy pretended he never ate candy. He hid his stash where he thought none of us would find it: the desk drawers and credenza in his office, the bathroom, the trunk of his car.

I think I was a teenager when the family finally caught on. We were sitting at the kitchen table after dinner craving a little something sweet. My mom, ever calorie-conscious, suggested an apple. Daddy went out the door to the garage and came back with jelly beans. "Where'd you get those?" my brother and I asked. "Doesn't matter," he replied with a smile, tossing them on the table. The next time I followed him out to the garage and found him rummaging in the back of his Corvette. I looked over his shoulder and saw his impressive stash - the Corvette's trunk isn't that big, but it holds quite a bit of candy when it's packed to the brim.

Daddy loved licorice all-sorts, jelly beans, Boston "baked beans," and Cracker Jack snacks, but he also kept lollipops and hard candies in a rainbow of flavors. I try not to eat a lot of candy now - my teeth, my waistline! - but sometimes, especially when I'm missing my father, a sweet treat is just the thing. When I do indulge, I always reach for my dad's favorites.

When the folks at the Cracker Jack brand asked if I'd be interested in trying some of their new flavors, I had to say yes. My dad passed away almost five years ago; their email felt like a sign. And when the samples came and I opened a bag and took my first bite, I started to cry. I ate the whole bag without stopping, thinking about the baseball games, fishing trips, and summer family dinners of my youth - many of which included Cracker Jack snacks.

Whether you buy original flavor Cracker Jack popcorn snacks or the delicious new Kettle Corn or Butter Toffee flavors, I bet many of you will experience the same rush of nostalgia I felt. The sweet crunch of the popcorn punctuated by the occasional salty peanut - Cracker Jack snack is one of the iconic tastes of my childhood.

I'm always happy to eat Cracker Jack snack on its own, but for a twist try tossing them on top of an ice cream sundae. This one has rum raisin ice cream because it was my father's favorite, although judging by how many stores I had to hit to find rum raisin, I'm guessing it's not such a popular flavor these days. If vanilla is more your style, go right ahead.

Note: The team at the Cracker Jack brand provided me with free samples of Cracker Jack snacks to use when writing this article. No other payment changed hands. All memories and opinions are, of course, my own.

print recipe

Cracker Jack ice cream sundae
This ice cream sundae combines three of my dad's favorite sweet flavors: rum raisin ice cream, gooey caramel sauce and Cracker Jack snacks as a crunchy topping.
  • 3 scoops rum raisin ice cream
  • 2 Tablespoons caramel sauce (make your own or buy a bottled brand)
  • 1/2 cup Cracker Jack snack (Original, Kettle Corn or Butter Toffee flavor)
Scoop the ice cream into a bowl. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the ice cream and top with the Cracker Jack snack. Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 serving


Anonymous said...

I bet Daddy is listening, smiling and saying "yes, that's my girl!" I miss him, too, and think about the Cracker Jacks (at the Yankee game), the rum raisin ice cream, and the trunk FILLED with candy!
Still calorie-conscious, let not eat this toooo often...

Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious said...

Licorice Allsorts. Oh my....

Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes said...

Ohh Erika,
This was such a lovely post. I laughed and then tears came to my eyes. I am so glad you shared it with us. Love the candy stash in the trunk! Ha ha! I am waaay nostalgic about cracker jacks too. My mom used to let us eat them for snack all the time. And now I buy them for my kids for a treat too.

Erika Kerekes said...

@Mommy! I love when you leave comments on my blog!

@Dorothy - I know, licorice was never my favorite, but they do look so pretty...

@Katie - Every time I think about the candy stash in the trunk I laugh. I didn't realize how weird it was at the time!

Jeanne @JollyTomato said...

This sounds like it would hit the spot! I love the salty-sweet taste of Cracker Jacks and if you add ice cream and caramel sauce it sounds like quite an irresistible combination...

Geez Louise! said...

What a beautiful story, love food with a memory - especially something as special as this. Would it be weird if I said I'm over recipes? There is nothing new under the sun, but tell me a story ... now that I find interesting.

Erika Kerekes said...

@Jeanne sweet and salty is always my favorite dessert combo. Glad it's so in fashion these days!

@Louise I'm feeling "over" recipes too. Maybe it's seasonal?

Sippity Sup said...

I wouldn't say my dad had much of a sweet tooth. But he did (does) love his Cracker Jacks. GREG

Anonymous said...

Wow, this post really made me smile! I can't look at a bag of Cracker Jacks without thinking of my father. I guarantee that at some point he did exactly what you did here, except that instead of a bowl of ice cream, he dumped the bag right into the half gallon container and ate it from there!

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