This recipe originated through my friends Baconfest party she threw last winter. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds. It was potluck and everyone brought a dish containing bacon. Even my Jewish vegan coworker had a good time (she didn’t want to miss a party and she brought fakin’ bacon, it’s not bad). I completely went overboard of course and brought like four or five dishes with about four different kinds of bacon. Most of the dishes are waiting to be refined but as I try not to eat bacon too often it can take a while. This recipe has been ready but idling waiting for a rainy day. Since rainy days have found us, I thought I’d better get it posted.
The recipe for the caramel is one that I had tried a few years ago but found so addictive that I decided I shouldn’t keep the recipe. Seriously, I made a batch of this caramel corn with white and dark chocolate chips and almonds and then I took it to a meeting. It was totally disruptive, people were constantly going back for more, and then as the supply got low they started to (somewhat playfully) bicker over it. It was like crack; in fact I called it Caramel Crack Corn. I felt the recipe was a little too dangerous at the time and didn’t write it down. I learned something at that meeting though; taking highly processed, sugary sweets to a meeting of people who rarely indulge in sweets is a bad, bad idea. However for Baconfest, I decided to resurrect and recreate the recipe. It was absolutely as addictive as I remembered.
So, without further ado I give to you an absolutely addictive snack/dessert now with added bacon!
Bacon Caramel Corn
3 Tbsp. bacon fat*
½ cup popcorn seed*
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup butter
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
16 oz. bacon, cooked and diced
Preheat oven to 250°.
In a deep pan, cook the popcorn in the bacon fat. Keep the pan covered so the kernels don’t hop out. Stir or shake the popcorn frequently. When you no longer hear popping, remove from the heat and pour the popcorn onto greased cookie sheet.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and butter; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, baking soda, bacon, and salt. Pour the caramel over the popcorn, transfer to the oven, and bake for 45 minutes stirring frequently.
Remove from the oven. As soon as it’s cool enough to handle, break into clumps. If you’re in a hurry, brief stints in the freezer will cool and harden the corn but don’t leave it in for more than a minute or two.
*You may substitute 12 cups already popped corn.