Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Maple-Bacon Kettle Corn

As I mention in yesterday's post, we hosted another backyard movie night last Friday.  I had wanted to make this Maple-Bacon Kettle Corn for our first showing but was a little hesitant for fear that I'd burn the kettle corn.  I finally worked up the courage to make it and I'm so glad I did because maple.bacon.kettle corn.  Enough said, am I right?

Sweet and salty, crisp and crunchy homemade kettle corn is studded with delicious bits of maple coated bacon in this irresistible move snack.  While I was a little nervous about burning my kettle corn, I found that it wasn't too difficult to make.  Making the perfect batch of kettle corn requires a good bit of patience and lots of attention (and shaking... I definitely got a workout shaking the pot), but it's not particularly difficult to make.  I found this post helpful when studying up on kettle corn making.

This is such a unique and delicious treat, sure to wow your guests on movie night.  Totally worth the effort.  I will note that I fried my bacon and made my kettle corn about an hour before we were expecting our guests; however, I combined my crumbled bacon with the maple syrup and stirred the mixture into my kettle corn just before serving to keep everything nice and crisp.  I definitely wouldn't recommend trying to make this in completion too far in advance as after a few hours, the maple syrup does begin to soften the popcorn.  That said, this recipe really isn't too difficult to make and the result is out of this world.  You might have a hard time sharing this one.

Maple-Bacon Kettle Corn
adapted via Brown Eyed Baker
serves 4-6

4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and grease reserved
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup corn kernels for popping
1/4 cup canola oil (use the reserved bacon grease and add extra oil to equal 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

Fry the bacon in a skillet until brown and crisp.  Remove to a paper-lined plate to drain and cool.

Measure out the reserved bacon grease in a measuring cup.  If you don't have 1/4 cup, add enough canola oil to reach desired amount.

Put the bacon grease/oil in a large pot and add the corn kernels.  Sprinkle with the sugar and salt.  Heat over medium heat, stirring to begin dissolving the sugar.  Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and begin  moving the pot in circular motions over the heat to distribute the kernels and prevent burning.

Once the kernels begin to pop, using two hot holders to hold the lid on the pot, remove from the stove and give a quick vertical shake or two.  Immediately return the pot to the burner.  Continue this throughout the popping process, every minute or two.  This shaking is crucial to insure the sugar doesn't burn and that the kernels are popping evenly.

Once the popping as subsided, remove the lid and stir the popcorn.  You may add extra salt, if desired, though I found the 1 teaspoon was plenty for my taste.

Crumble the crisp bacon into bits and toss with the maple syrup.  Stir the bacon/syrup mixture into the kettle corn just before serving.

*I doubled the recipe, cooking each batch of kettle corn separate.

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