Let’s talk about this caramel corn. Adjectives: sweet, salty, spicy, bacon-y. Can you handle that type of thing?
- Prep time: 30 min
- Cooking time: 60 min
- 1 cup unpopped corn kernels
- 1 pound bacon, cooked and finely chopped
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 250 Celsius degrees (482 Fahrenheit degrees).
- Pop the corn kernels in an air popper and place in a large roasting pan.
- Place a heavy saucepot over a medium-low flame and melt the butter.
- Add the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Stir frequently and allow the sugar to dissolve completely.
- When the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat just slightly and allow the mixture to come to a boil. When it starts to boil, stop stirring and allow the caramel to boil for 5 minutes (without stirring).
- After 5 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the baking soda, vanilla and cayenne pepper. (1/4 teaspoon of cayenne yields a barely noticed note of heat. I use just under 1/2 teaspoon.) Stir quickly as the caramel foams.
- Add the finely chopped bacon to the caramel and stir to incorporate.
- Quickly pour the caramel over the popped corn. Gently fold the caramel into the corn to coat the pieces. You won't have perfectly coated pieces at this point, however you will be stirring during the baking and this will help coat all of the corn.
- Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes to ensure all the pieces are coated.
- Pour the baked corn onto foil and spread out to an even layer. Allow to cool completely.