Bacon caramel popcorn is an appropriate gift for a third birthday, right? I thought so too 🙂 I know I've been on a bit of a bacon binge lately, but can you blame me? It just makes everything a whole hell of a lot better. Just think about the bacon, caramelized onion and cheddar deviled eggs I made the other day; so much better than regular deviled eggs. Or the bacon, bourbon and peanut butter cookies; they kicked ass on regular peanut butter cookies. Throw some bacon into a grilled cheese sandwich or in the middle of a chocolate turtle and they go from good to holy f***ing good!
Adding a little, actually a lot, of bacon to caramel popcorn makes it so good that you'd seriously think about hoarding it all to yourself. But I've heard about that TV show Hoarders and from the sound of it those people are completely crazy, so you might not want to do that. Or at least don't tell anyone if you do. I decided to share and wrapped up a big bag of this bacon caramel popcorn for my little nephew for his third birthday. I love anyone who loves bacon as much as I do. If that person happens to be my little nephew and the cutest little human being you've ever seen, I'll love them even more.
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 pieces bacon, cooked crispy and chopped (reserve bacon fat)
- ½ cup peanuts
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 oolong tea bag
- 1½ cups sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat the popcorn and oil in a covered, heavy, large pot over medium-high heat until kernels begin to pop. Lift pot just barely off of the element and shake until the popping stops. Pour the popcorn onto a large baking sheet..
- Sprinkle the salt and cayenne over the popcorn and toss to coat. Sprinkle the bacon and peanuts on top of popcorn.
- Bring the cream and tea bag just to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let it steep for 15 minutes, occasionally pressing on tea bag with back of a spoon to release the flavour. Discard tea bag.
- Stir together the sugar, ¼ cup water, and maple syrup in large, high-sided saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and boil without stirring until the syrup turns deep amber in colour, about 13 minutes. Remove the caramel from heat and immediately add cream (mixture will bubble up, be careful.) Stir until blended. Immediately drizzle the caramel over the popcorn and toss to coat with wooden spoons.
- Place the caramel popcorn in the oven and bake until the caramel is shiny and coats the popcorn, tossing occasionally, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Using wooden spoons toss the popcorn and break up any large chunks. Let it cool for another 5 minutes and then toss again. Continue this until caramel popcorn is completely cool.