One of my favorite bloggers that I read on a daily basis is The Life and Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson. Well cute little Rachel is holding a cooking contest called Project Tasteless and this month’s challenge is to make a dish that will earn you a spot in the Man Cave and couldn’t be more timely with the upcoming Superbowl.
I’m guessing that most everyone else may be going the savory route since most man cave dishes involve cheese, meat and fried goodness. So I took the opposite approach. Also, I have a giant sweet tooth and would likely have diabetes by now if left completely to my own devices/cravings.
So I give you the ultimate sweet (and savory) snack food. It involves bacon, chocolate, caramel, butter and popcorn. It is so addictive it is may be illegal in 17 states. Medical marijuana doesn’t hold a candle to this shit. (Although it may be the ultimate munchie food.)
Behold I give you…
Popcorn Laced with Crack
(aka Bacon-Chocolate-Caramel Corn)
Makes 5ish cups of Choco-Baco-Caramel Corn. If you’re having a party, I recommend multiplying. Like, a lot, a lot.
(For a printable version of this recipe, sans pics, click here)
3/4 pound of uncooked bacon
⅓ c popcorn kernels (or more if desired)
Sea Salt to taste
1 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
¼ c light corn syrup
1 teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips (can use white, dark or milk, whatever you prefer)
Optional: Nuts of your choice, cayenne pepper, black pepper
Cook bacon until crispy, place on paper towels to drain and then crumble when cool. Save 3 Tablespoons of bacon renderings in pan to use as popcorn oil.
Heat bacon renderings (if not already hot) over medium high heat in a big pan or pot with lid. Place three kernels of corn in the pot and wait for them to pop (they indicate when the oil is ready). When those 3 have popped, drop in ⅓ c of popcorn kernels and leave the lid slightly ajar to help the moisture escape and give you crispy popcorn. Watch for the batch of kernels to begin popping and as soon as they do, shake the pan often to keep the kernels moving until it seems almost completely popped (listen for them to slow just like you do with the microwave method). Be sure to close the lid when shaking, and to open again slightly when not shaking to release moisture (if you have a steam valve on your lid this isnt necessary). When mostly popped, transfer the kernels to a parchment paper lined baking sheet (don’t use wax paper! But a silpat or nonstick sheet will work too) and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. If you want more popcorn, repeat the above paragraph until you have enough for your group. Also, you can use microwave popcorn if you want, but that’s not nearly as bad ass as making it yourself. If you go this route, use unbuttered or plain popcorn bags.
Heat butter, sugar and corn syrup in a large saucepan until boiling.
Let simmer for just a few minutes, then remove from heat and stir in ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and the salt, and all but about 2 Tablespoons of the bacon crumbles. It will start to bubble up a LOT – that’s why you need a big enough pan for it to double in size.
Pour over top of the popcorn on the baking sheet and stir around to spread and coat evenly. Once coated, sprinkle extra bacon crumbles on top and mix again to even it out. Toss it with a wooden spoon.
Let cool slightly while making chocolate drizzle. For chocolate drizzle, melt chocolate in microwave in short 30 second bursts, stirring between, so as not to overcook or on stove using double boiler method (pan of steaming water with bowl of chocolate resting on top but not touching water). Be extra careful with white chocolate as it has a tendency to seize up more easily than other chocolates. Once melted, use a spoon to drizzle over the popcorn still in the pan and let cool before serving (or serve right away if you like drippy warm chocolate).
Store in an airtight container for up to a week (will get more chewy the longer you keep it).
Optional add ins – nuts (incorporate into caramel when on stove), a little spice (add spice either before or after the oven) – red pepper flakes, fresh ground black peppercorn or a bit of cayenne.
Vegetarian changes – use 3 T of canola oil instead of bacon renderings and of course, leave out the bacon. If you do so, I recommend substituting it with salted nuts or something equally savory.
If you make it please let me know what you think in the comments!