4 of my favourite words: Bacon. Bourbon. Caramel. Popcorn. Each on their own sounds amazing and delicious but together … oh man, it's almost too much.
You might remember the bacon caramel popcorn that I made for my cutest ever little nephew for his 3rd birthday. (Which was almost 2 years ago to the date. 2 years ago! Crazy.) It was one of the best things I had eaten at that point.
And why is this the first time since experimenting with that recipe 2 years ago that I've made it since? Also crazy.
I made this popcorn for a catering event I had a few weeks ago. See those cute little bags? ↑ I was feeling so Pinterest-y making them, which is usually so not me. Don't you love it when you feel for a nano second that you could maybe be a part of all those incredibly talented and crafty Pinterest goddesses out there?
Or maybe you are one. In which case I bow down to you.
I've made this recipe a few times since and served it as a part of the dessert at the supper club. I love how fun and unconventional popcorn for dessert feels. It's playful and light and oh so unexpected.
I'll admit that the bourbon doesn't play a huge roll in this recipe. It's definitely an in-the-background flavour. The bacon on the other hand … oh the bacon. The rich, smoky, delicious bacon. There's lots of it in here which made my mouth very happy.
If you make this Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn, make sure to snap a pic and tag @theendlessmeal on Instagram so I can like and comment on your photos. I love seeing TEM recipes you create.
- ¾ lbs. bacon, diced
- 1 cup popcorn kernels (22 cups popped corn)
- Butter - the amount you'll need will depend on how much bacon fat you have. Up to 1 cup
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons bourbon, divided
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Place the diced bacon in a medium sized frying pan over medium high heat. Cook the bacon for 7-10 minutes, or until it is quite crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve the bacon fat.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat into a large pot over medium heat. Add 2-3 popcorn kernels and cover the pot. When you hear the first kernels start to pop add the remaining kernels all at once. Give the pot a shake and reduce the temperature to medium low. Continue shaking the pot occasionally until most of the popping has died down. Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the popcorn into 1 very large or 2 large bowls, making sure that no un-popped kernels get into the bowl.
- Pour the reserved bacon fat into a 1 cup measuring up. Fill the rest of the cup with butter and then pour it into a medium sized pot*. Add the brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of the bourbon and the sea salt to the pot. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and bring the pot to a boil. Stir the pot once then let it boil without stirring until the candy thermometer reads 275 degrees. (This will take approximately 4-5 minutes.) When the candy thermometer reads 275 degrees immediately remove the pot from the heat and stir through the baking soda, vanilla, cayenne pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons of bourbon. Be careful at this point as the caramel will bubble up considerably and create a lot of steam.
- Immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn, tossing the popcorn as you pour the caramel over it. Toss the crispy bacon through the popcorn.
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking trays with parchment paper. Pour the caramel covered popcorn evenly between the two trays. Bake the popcorn in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove the popcorn from the oven and let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.