Project Bake | Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

Yes, you read it right. Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn. You are probably like me when I read those words, {gasp!} "No! Combining three absolutely wonderful things together in one?! It can't be possible!". Ladies and Gents, I assure you, it's for reals. At the beginning of the year, I received this recipe in my inbox via Daily Candy featuring the creation from LA's Villans Tavern. With a friend's Super Bowl Party in my future, I thought perfect! I needed to try and make this STAT. 
Now, I had never made caramel corn before, let alone a crazy fusion like this one, so I knew that I was going to have to try it out in advance of said Bowl Party.

Note: I used TJ's Apple Smoked Bacon. Don't. Don't use any flavored kind of bacon. It puts a bit of a strange taste to the popcorn. Just use plain bacon.

Click Here to read on!

Of course, I had to taste to make sure the bourbon was still good {never mind that I just bought it the day before}
Now, being the type of recipe-follower I am, I blindly went out and bought what it called for. This one called for nine bags of kernel popcorn. Nine bags. Didn't even phase me. After running out of bowls to hold the first bag of air-popped popcorn, I realized I had eight more bags to pop. Believe me, I even contemplated washing out my kitchen trash can to hold it all. Then I stood back and thought, 'Am I crazy?? How many people do they expect me to be serving? A thousand? Screw that! I'm just popping one bag.' 
So I didn't just halve the recipe, I quartered it. Much more manageable.
Oh, PS: The recipe calls for popping the corn in a pot with oil, but the air popper is much easier {and less oil/fat} and runs much less risk of burning.

Also, if you are a fan of more salty zings in your popcorn, cook a few more strips than it calls for. 
Also, cook it so that it's nice and crispy - you don't want chewy bacon in this popcorn.

After you coat the popcorn with the caramel mixture, it'll seem soggy. Don't worry, it'll dry out and harden/crystalize in the oven.
Also, spread the popcorn in a pan/sheet that has sides. You are going to be lightly mixing it every 15 minutes - sides help to keep it inside the pan instead of all over the bottom of the oven.

The popcorn is at it's best right out of the oven. Seriously, melt-in-your-mouth good. So, I would try to make it the same day as your party. Have it with a glass of milk. So yummy!

Find the original recipe here
Oh, and for the record, I decided not to make this for the Super Bowl Party. It was just too much for me to deal with when the weekend finally came. I made something entirely different and stupendous. Which, I will blog about at another time.

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