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!
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 Food.com celebrates the food holiday