Caramel Corn with Candied Bacon
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12 ounces thick cut (butcher's cut) bacon
1 cup (packed) brown sugar, either light or dark
1/4 cup bourbon or rum
Mix the sugar and bourbon, the spread half on a nonstick quarter-sheet or jelly roll pan. If you don't have a good quality nonstick sheet pan, use a Silpat. Lay the bacon out and rub the remaining sugar mixture into the bacon. Bake in a 350°F oven about 45 minutes. Set a nonstick rack on or into another sheet pan, and carefully lift the bacon from the cooking pan to the cooling rack using tongs. Be careful not to get the hot sugar on yourself because it not only burns, but sticks as well.
popcorn, 1/2 cup of kernels, popped (about 3-4 quarts)
3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey or light corn syrup
1 teaspoon bourbon, rum, or vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Chop the candied bacon. Put the popcorn and bacon into a large grocery bag. Using a large microwaveable bowl or 1-quart microwaveable measuring cup for the caramel. Put all the ingredients except the baking sode into the bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir thoroughly, and return to the oven. Microwave for 2 minutes. It will foam quite a bit. Remove from the microwave, stir in the baking soda, then pour over the popcorn and bacon in the bag.
Close the bag, give it a good shake, then microwave it for 1 minute. Remove the bag from the oven and give it a thorough shaking, then return to the microwave for an additional 45-60 seconds. Remove the bag from the oven and shake it thoroughly. Pour the caramel corn onto wax paper and let cool.
Initially the caramel corn will be rather soft, but as it cools the caramel coating will harden and it becomes nicely crunchy.
If you wish to add nuts, you can add up to 2 cups of nuts to the bag with the popcorn and bacon.
The Caramel Corn recipe was adapted from one published by Sommer Collier in her blog, A Spicy Perspective.