Bacon makes everything better.
By Courtney Runn, Photo by Mackenzie S Kelley
Whether you need a snack to root on the home team or you’re gearing up for trick-or-treaters, bacon popcorn is the perfect fall treat. Pastry chef Sarah Listrom at Lefty’s Brick Bar shares her copycat Cracker Jack recipe with a bacon twist.
12 cups popped popcorn (From a microwave bag or pop about 1/3 cup in a pot)
2/3 cup bacon bits (Cook 1/2 to 3/4 pound of bacon until crispy with a little chew or use store-bought bacon bits.)
1/2 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup bacon fat (Supplement lard or butter if using store-bought bacon bits.)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon clove
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1. Heat the oven to 325 F (or 300 F if convection).
2. Put maple syrup, brown sugar and water in a pot with room to quadruple in size.
3. Measure and set aside fat, salt and baking soda together, bacon and peanuts together, and popcorn in separate bowls.
4. Boil sugars and water, consistently stirring with a rubber spatula until 230 to 240 F.
5. Add fat, salt, baking soda and clove, whisking until evenly frothy.
6. Add bacon bits and peanuts. Give it a quick stir to coat evenly.
7. Drizzle mixture over popcorn and lightly toss the popcorn with the spatula until evenly coated.
8. Transfer mixture to a baking sheet lined with parchment or a baking mat and space out evenly.
9. Bake for about 10 minutes then rotate, stir and bake for an additional 10 minutes. The length of time will vary based on your oven; look for a golden color.
10. The popcorn will be done when the color is golden, and the sugar is set and crunchy at room temperature. If unsure, put a piece on a cold surface to cool to room temperature faster and taste to check.
11. Let cool and serve. If not enjoying shortly after, store in a zip-close bag or airtight container.