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A Salty-Sweet Surprise for National Popcorn Day

When we heard that today was National Popcorn Day, we here at Cooking Channel immediately began plotting the number of ways to celebrate this food holiday: super spicy? classically cheesy? dressed in herbs? Since January (and our get-fit resolve) is waning, we settled on sweet, in the form of crunchy, sugar-coated caramely, caramely caramel corn.

But no ordinary caramel corn recipe would do — this day comes just once a year, after all — so we turned to the master of sweets himself, Double Ovens chef and Unique Sweets star Zac Young, to get his inventive take on the classic. Not one to disappoint, Zac shared a recipe that hits the sweet-tooth spot — with plenty of salty, smoky and savory flavor to boot. We guarantee this palate-pleasing treat will have you popping a second batch in no time.

Zac’s Bacon Peanut Caramel Corn

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups honey roasted peanuts
1 pound extra-crispy cooked bacon

Pop popcorn with oil in a large (covered) pot on the stove or in a popcorn maker. You know the popcorn is ready when the popping slows to one pop every seconds.

Pour popcorn onto a cookie sheet lined with a liner. Sprinkle salt, peanuts and crumbled bacon over the popcorn.

Heat the sugar, corn syrup and a ½ cup of water until light amber in color. Pour evenly over the corn. Mix the mixture on the cookie sheet with a heat-proof spatula to try and evenly coat the popcorn, peanuts and bacon. Place in a 350 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes until the caramel has melted. Work the mixture again with the spatula until everything is evenly coated.

Let cool and enjoy!

Pictured above, clockwise from top left:
Nacho Cheesy Popcorn Recipe
Maple Nut Popcorn Recipe
Spicy and Sweet Popcorn Snack Mix
Frenchy Popcorn Recipe

Want more ways to celebrate National Popcorn Day?
• Try Bobby Deen’s lighter vanilla-cinnamon popcorn
• Make a thick candy-bar-like popcorn and peanut chocolate bark
• Make a cheesy batch with both Parmesan and Pecorino
• See how Kelsey adds honeycomb and peanuts to her popcorn to delicious effect
Add sesame seeds for a surprising, nutty note
• See how celebrates the food holiday


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