I needed to make something for a potluck. My requirements were that it wouldn’t take forever to make, wouldn’t force me to go to the grocery store, and that it would blow everyone away. Not such an easy feat.
I have this thing where I feel the need to impress everyone with cooking, and one way to do that is at potlucks. I don’t know why I can’t just take the easy way out and stop at the store, or make something easy and typical. I have the type of friends where pretty much everyone does this, and I definitely wouldn’t be judged if I joined, but I literally can’t make myself not care.
I made this popcorn on the night before a final exam (at the end of January) at like midnight when I REALLY should have been sleeping (or studying), because of course I did. That is the kind of thing that I do.
Luckily, this version of caramel popcorn was quite easy and not overly time consuming, and it was SO GOOD. You guys. I mean, who doesn’t love caramel popcorn? And when people find out that you put bacon it it?! They will think you are crazy, but they will love the stuff (I was actually shocked by how many people thought this was crazy – isn’t bacon and dessert pretty mainstream these days? I thought so…)
It is the ultimate combination of salty and sweet, and you will not be able to stop eating it. I doubled this recipe because live in a madhouse with a bunch of girls who attempt to refrain from eating things like this but are very easily swayed, and I needed to make sure there was enough for a potluck the next day.
Side note: I recommend acting quickly when you add the baking soda mixture to the sugar, because it WILL bubble up a lot and if you do not mix in the bacon quickly and then pour it over the popcorn, it will be gigantic mess and you will panic. Not that I know this from experience or anything.
Caramel Bacon Popcorn:
Adapted slightly from A Cozy Kitchen
Makes a large bowl
5 – 6 slices Bacon
3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Popcorn Kernels
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
3 cups White Sugar
3 tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lay bacon side-by-side. Transfer baking sheet to hot oven and cook bacon for 15 minutes, and until crispy and brown. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. When cool, cut into dice-sized pieces.
2. Lightly coat two large heatproof rubber spatulas and a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray. In a large saucepan or pot with a lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels, cover, and keep the saucepan moving until all of the kernels have popped, about 4 minutes. Transfer the popped popcorn to the large prepared bowl, removing any unpopped kernels.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt, and 1/2 cup water. Cook over high heat, without stirring, until the mixture becomes a light golden-yellow caramel, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the baking soda mixture (the mixture will bubble up). Quickly fold in bacon bits. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss, until all of the popcorn is evenly coated with the caramel.
4. Pour the popcorn onto a large baking pan and quickly flatten and separate it into small pieces while it is still warm. Cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Once it is cool, store it in a well-sealed airtight container. Caramel popcorn will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.