Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bacon & Cashew Caramel Popcorn

For a brief time in the 1990's, I lived in a cave with a slab of bacon as my only companion. I'd caress that slab of bacon and call it My Precious. It was a bleak period in my life, but that's the dark power bacon holds over me.

Occasionally, I find a recipe using bacon that plunges me into the murky depths of a culinary Mordor, and I wonder if I'll be able to return home. This was the case with the following recipe from Bon Appetit:

Bacon and Cashew Caramel Popcorn


  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

  • Preparation:
    1. Heat popcorn and oil in covered heavy large pot over medium-high heat until kernels begin to pop. Using oven mitts, hold lid on pot and shake pot until popping stops. Pour popcorn into very large bowl.
    2. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until almost crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain; cool. Add bacon and cashews to bowl with popcorn. Sprinkle with coarse salt and cayenne; toss to coat.
    3. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; coat with nonstick spray. Coat 2 wooden spoons or heat-resistant spatulas with nonstick spray; set aside.
    4. Stir sugar, 1/4 cup water, and corn syrup in large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high; boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 13 minutes.
    5. Remove from heat and immediately add cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir until blended. Immediately drizzle caramel over popcorn mixture; toss with sprayed spoons until evenly coated. Transfer to sheet.
    6. Place caramel corn in oven and bake at 250 degrees until caramel is shiny and coats popcorn, tossing mixture occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on sheet on rack, tossing occasionally to break up large clumps. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight in refrigerator.
    (Bacon, the star of this production)

    I adapted this recipe slightly. It called for me to steep an oolong teabag in the cream, but I didn't have this tea in my pantry. This recipe rocks without the oolong, but I'm curious about what flavor the tea would add.

    Salty. Sweet. Smokey. Spicey. I must find a slab of bacon and crawl back into my cave.

    all that is gold does not glitter,


    Jenni said...

    You had me at bacon. I'll pass on the oolong, too. I've had oolong tea once, and it should be spelled ewlong. It tasted like it was made from dried umbilical cords--or at least what I'd imagine that would taste like. But bacon and popcorn and caramel? Mmmmm...divine combination. I need to have it this weekend. (And thanks for the link to the Largehearted Boy post!)

    High Plains Drifters said...

    I skipped the cave phase, but did spend a month on all fours, grazing. you think a lot slower when you graze.

    Nella said...


    Just to let you know, I just got done listening/watching a video from my friend who recorded Muddy Waters' son, Big Bill Morganfield, as he played with Levee Town. I guess it was a sight to behold. I thought of you. We are looking forward to another Blues evening out in the Kansas fields in a couple of weeks. I can hardly wait. N (no need to publish this comment)

    High Plains Drifters said...

    fyi: i'll save you the drama, but i got sick of the pretentious "good for you" attitude of the 12MTT, so that's why I'm shutting it down and returning to the High Plains Drifter page.

    Mr. Crankypants said...

    I'm glad you didn't use the tea bags. I would have perceived this as a nod to the goddamn tea party. They're just a bunch of hate mongers posing as patriots. Fuckers!

    Jenni said...

    This recipe is going to be the death of me. I've thrown away my printed copy and I'm going to try never to make it again. Now to finish destroying (a.k.a. snarfing) it all. It is pure evil!

    April said...

    Dear God...I think I would really like to put that in my mouth right now and yet it seems so WRONG! Oh, and oolong is by far my favorite tea, so it's gotta be good using it too.