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I'm as sick of the whole bacon-in-everything trend as the next foodie, but the fact is that sometimes things are just better with bacon. Caramel popcorn is one of those times.
Once you taste caramel bacon popcorn you'll never want it any other way. This recipe from The Cooking of Joy is insanely good. The author says she omitted the almonds when she adapted the recipe from another source, but personally I like them in there for even more crunch. This makes a great snack or a fun dessert, but be prepared to make more, because it will disappear fast.
Bacon Caramel Corn
1/2 pound bacon
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cut bacon into a fine dice and fry until crisp. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.
Heat the bacon fat in a large pot with a cover. Add 3 popcorn kernels and cover. Listen for all three kernels to pop, and add the rest of the popcorn kernels. Cover and shake until popping stops. Put popped corn in a non-stick roasting pan, making sure to remove the unpopped kernels.
Preheat oven to 200°F.
Heat butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat until it reaches 300°F on your candy thermometer.
Remove from heat, stir in baking soda and bacon (the caramel will explode in volume at this point so make sure you use a large enough saucepan) and pour this caramel mixture over the popcorn (do this quickly so that the caramel doesn’t cool and stiffen).
Stir the mixture with a couple wooden spoons and place in the oven for a total of an hour rearranging the popcorn to evenly distribute the caramel and bacon every 15 minutes. Add more salt (if necessary) during this process. Cool and break into bite-sized pieces.
Image via joyosity/Flickr