Clearly this was something worth trying. Yet, I wanted to learn how to make it myself rather than pay someone else to make it for me.
So, I looked online for a recipe that sounded good. Came across one for Bacon and Cashew Caramel Corn at Bon Appétit. The picture shows popcorn all covered with caramel with lots of bacon and cashews.
Making the recipe as noted below won't produce the same results. It is delicious and something I would make again. Plus everyone who tasted the bacon and cashew caramel corn liked it and wanted more.
This is the bacon and cashew caramel corn that I made.
Look closely...there are actually pieces of
bacon and cashews in there.
That being said, I would double the caramel next time and at least triple if not quadruple the cashews and bacon.
I also did not use the tea bag or cayenne pepper. Rather, I completely skipped the tea bag step (which was fine) and substituted black pepper (again, tasted fine).
Below is the recipe and how I modified it the first time I made it. The next time I make it, I'll do what I believe will result in an even better batch of bacon and cashew caramel corn by doing what I suggested above.
• 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 6 ounces bacon, chopped (I doubled this)
• 1/2 cup unsalted raw cashews (one 2.5-ounce package) (I doubled this)
• 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt or coarse sea salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used black pepper)
• 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1 oolong tea bag (I didn't use this)
• Nonstick vegetable oil spray
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
One cup contains: Calories (kcal) 199.7 %Calories from Fat 40.3 Fat (g) 9.0 Saturated Fat (g) 2.6 Cholesterol (mg) 13.8 Carbohydrates (g) 26.6 Dietary Fiber (g) 1.2 Total Sugars (g) 17.9 Net Carbs (g) 25.4 Protein (g) 4.6 Sodium (mg) 257.0
• Preheat oven to 300°F.
• 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.
• 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 (or black pepper); and toss to coat.
• Bring cream and tea bag just to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat; let steep 15 minutes, occasionally pressing on tea bag with back of spoon to release flavor. Discard tea bag. (Note: I didn't do this step at all - even the heating of the cream. I just left it cold.)
• Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; coat with nonstick spray. Coat 2 wooden spoons or heat-resistant spatulas with nonstick spray; set aside.
• 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. (Note: It took less time to reach a deep amber color on my stove.)
• 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.
• Place caramel corn in oven and bake until caramel is shiny and coats popcorn, tossing mixture occasionally, about 20 minutes.
• Immediately get all pans, spoons, and anything that touched the caramel into hot, soapy water. This will save a lot of time with washing these items since the caramel won't have had time to harden.
• Cool the caramel corn completely on sheet on rack, tossing occasionally to break up large clumps.
• Note: this can be made 2 days ahead.
• Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.