Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bacon Caramel Corn

Have I ever told you how much I love the Food Network?

If there happen to be any Food Network reps out there reading this, I'd just like it to be known that I would gladly take on the role of someone who has to travel the world eating delicious food, find ridiculously good baked goods to try, participate in food feuds or perhaps be the star of their own baking show.. just throwing it out there!

Food Network is one of those channels that is constantly on in our house. Mountain Man and I spend countless hours on the couch gawking over the amazing-ness that pops up on the screen time and time again.

Not to mention the inspiration that comes out of our obsession.. case in point, this popcorn.

While watching Chopped one evening, one of the contestants whipped up some Bacon Caramel Corn in the dessert round and the judges weren't the only ones who fell in love with this idea...

When we decided to make caramel corn while home for Thanksgiving, we knew what had to be done. MM's parents may have thought we were crazy, but we knew it would be a winner and man oh man were we right!

Disclaimer: Do not go any further if you're on any kind of diet...scratch that, you shouldn't even think about being on a diet during the holidays! Didn't you know that calories don't count in the months of November and December?

Seriously though, this is by no means a low-cal holiday snack...we're talking bacon here people.

For all you bacon lovers out there,  may I present the most deliciously sweet and salty holiday corn you'll be munchin' on this season....

Bacon Caramel Corn
This recipe makes 2 large pans of popcorn. 
We made one batch the traditional way and the other with bacon.

2 large deep disposable aluminum baking pans
1 cup popcorn kernels
2 sticks butter
1 lb. brown sugar
2/3 cup white corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch cream of tartar
1 package of bacon

Traditional Caramel Corn:
Pop 1/2 cup kernels in air popper or in pot.

If cooking in pot: place pot over medium heat and add 3 TBS oil, 2 or 3 kernels and cover. Once you hear the 3 kernels pop, add remaining 1/2 cup- cover and shake until all popcorn is popped.  Place popcorn in one large baking pan, making sure to discard un-popped kernels.

Bacon Caramel Corn:
Cook bacon in large pot over medium heat. Once browned, remove from heat and transfer bacon to plate.

Crumble bacon once cooled and set aside.
All fat to cool slightly before transferring to small bowl.

Heat 3 TBS of bacon fat in pot. Place 2 popcorn kernels and cover. Once you hear the 2 or 3 kernels pop, add the remaining 1/2 cup kernels- cover and shake until all popcorn is popped. Transfer popcorn to other large baking pan. Make sure to discard un-popped kernels.
Sprinkle bacon crumbles over popcorn.

Preheat oven to 250-275.
In a large saucepan, add butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and stir for 5 minutes. Make sure not to overcook!

Remove from heat and quickly add baking soda, vanilla and pinch of cream of tartar. Stir until combined.
Immediately pour over popped corn, equally between both pans. Using a spatula, stir well- making sure to coat popcorn evenly with caramel.

Transfer baking pans to oven for about 1 1/2 hours- taking out to stir every 30 minutes.
Let cool, stirring every so often.
Keep in airtight container.

Happy Bacon! :)

Oh and if you want to learn a little bit more about me and my blog,
please head over to Taste and Tell, where I was in the blogger spotlight yesterday!
 Thanks Deborah!