Monday, May 13, 2013

Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

I don't really eat snacks.  I love food, real food like meat, fresh vegetables, potatoes... the experience of sitting down for a full meal.  But I'm not really into chips, or processed junk food like cookies, crackers, etc.

Having said that, I ate two bowls of this popcorn in one sitting.  Two!  If you're wondering if I felt sick afterward, the answer is yes.  But it was worth it.

Since I only post recipes to this blog that are successful, I feel like I am always saying "this was delicious" or "you have to try this", but.... this was really, really, really awesomely delicious!

Yield:  2 large bowls of popcorn

9 strips of crisp bacon

2 1/2 cups popcorn kernels
1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Vegetable oil
Coarse sea salt (for garnishing)

Fry bacon, drain and reserve.

Add several tablespoons of oil to a large pot over medium heat.  Add a few kernels to the pot to test the heat; once they begin to pop, add 3/4 cup of popcorn to the pan.  This process will continue for three batches.  Cover the pot and monitor it closely, shaking every once in a while so the popcorn doesn’t burn.

Once the popping slows, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the popcorn to a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the popcorn.  Once all of the popcorn has been cooked, spread it out in an even layer on 2-3 baking sheets.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees, then crumble cooked bacon over the popcorn.

Next, bring butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup to a boil in an oversized pot, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer for about five minutes, then remove from heat.  Stir in the bourbon, vanilla, salt and baking soda and mix.  Once you add the baking soda, the mixture will foam up, so be sure you have enough room at the top of the pot or it may overflow.

Pour caramel mixture over bacon and popcorn mixture and mix to coat evenly.  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and bake for about 60-80 mins, until golden brown, stirring the mixture every 15 minutes or so. 

Remove the popcorn from the oven and let cool for about an hour before breaking it up.    The popcorn will still be somewhat soft when it comes out of the oven, but will harden as it cools. Taste and add additional salt if necessary.  Then try not to eat it all in one sitting!  Enjoy!

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