Monday, September 30, 2013

maple bacon crackerjack.

Yes, you read that right. This is popcorn popped in bacon fat, tossed with bacon, peanuts, and maple caramel. Don't make this unless you have guests, and even then, you probably shouldn't make it until right before they arrive so you don't gobble it all up before they get there.

This is not the kind of thing I make often, and in fact I haven't made it in several years. But it's always a huge hit, it screams fall (tailgate food!), and I guarantee people will ask you for the recipe. You can say you made it up--my feelings won't be hurt.

maple bacon crackerjack
adapted from cooking light
makes about 10 cups

5 slices bacon
1/2 c popcorn kernels
1/2 c peanuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp butter
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, but it makes you eat it a little slower!)

Preheat oven to 325. Place bacon in a large pot (this helps reduce the number of dishes you'll have to do later), turn burner to medium and cook until crisp, turning frequently. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels.

Add a couple kernels of popcorn to the pot and set your burner on medium-high. Wait for those kernels to pop, then remove from heat and add the rest of the kernels. Keep off heat for about 30 seconds (this gets all the kernels to the same temperature). Put pot back on the stovetop until most of the kernels have popped, which should happen fairly quickly. You might want to shake the pan a little so none of the kernels burn. Transfer to a large baking sheet and sprinkle the peanuts over the popcorn. Dice the bacon into small pieces and add that as well.

Combine butter, sugar, maple syrup, and salt in small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and pour over popcorn-peanut-bacon mixture, tossing to coat (this is pretty messy). Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Place in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes to crisp it up before serving.

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