Monday, December 17, 2012

Maple Bacon Caramel Popcorn

I have been making caramel popcorn ever since college when my (now) sister-in-law Kathy taught me to make it.  I was amazed it was so easy to make homemade caramel popcorn.

This year we decided to mix things up a bit and add maple syrup and bacon to the mix.  The result tastes like a big pile of delicious pancakes and bacon dripping with butter and maple syrup.  So if you don't like that, then this recipe is not for you.

For the rest of you let me tell you the internet is full of recipes for maple bacon caramel popcorn.  LOTS of them.  My complaint with these recipes is that there is not enough caramel sauce to glaze the popcorn adequately, not enough bacon, not enough nuts, not enough of any of the good stuff.  Caramel popcorn should be coated with caramel, not just sprinkled with it.  Caramel popcorn is by no means a health food, so if you are going to make it, go whole hog.

My recipe results in a nice candied popcorn with lots of bacon bits and nuts.  It will keep for a week or so (if you can stand having it in the house and don't eat it immediately) if you keep it wrapped tightly and don't let humidity get to it.

Maple Bacon Caramel Popcorn
makes about 8 cups

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1/2 lb bacon, fried until crisp and finely chopped
1 cup pecans, medium chop
1 cup honey roasted peanuts

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 F.

Line a jelly roll pan with foil and spray lightly with oil.

In a large pot with a lid heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the popcorn and cook with agitation until popcorn pops, being careful not to burn.

Empty /2 the popcorn onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with 1/2 the pecans, peanuts and bacon.  Top with remaining popcorn and nuts and bacon.

In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium high heat.  Add brown sugar, corn syrup and maple syrup.  Cook with stirring until mixture just begins to bubble.  Stop stirring and cook until mixture reaches the soft ball stage (238 F on a candy thermometer).

Remove pan from heat and add baking soda and stir, mixture will foam up violently.  Pour molten caramel over popcorn.

Bake 45 minutes, tossing with a spatula to coat all the popcorn evenly every 15 minutes.

Allow to cool before packing into an airtight container.

Pour the molten caramel over the popcorn...

Every 15 minutes toss to coat popcorn evenly

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