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Bacon Duck Fat Caramel Corn

D'Artagnan | Yield: 12 servings
This party-worthy popcorn will satisfy the whole crowd – it’s savory, sweet, salty, crispy, and chewy. The easy recipe can also be made ahead of time, taking some of the stress out of hosting.
Salty & Sweet Bacon Caramel Corn Recipe | D’Artagnan

Ingredients

  • 12 cups popped plain popcorn (about ½ cup kernels)
  • 1½ cups packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup Duck Fat, plus 2 tablespoons (for coating the pan), melted
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 slices Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon, chopped into ¼ inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preparation

  1. Parcook bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until fat renders but bacon is still soft and hasn't browned. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F with the rack placed in the center position. Grease a large roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of duck fat. Spread popped popcorn evenly in the pan and set aside.
  3. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, duck fat, corn syrup, and salt. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly until the sugar dissolves and starts to emulsify, about 10 minutes. (The mixture may be seperated and oily - keep whisking, it will come together as it cooks.) Carefully stir in reserved bacon. Now stop whisking and continue to boil without touching it at all for about 3 minutes more.
  4. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the vanilla and baking soda until the caramel is light in color, foamy, and has doubled in volume, about 10 seconds.
  5. Immediately drizzle caramel mixture over the popcorn, turning with a silicone spatula until thoroughly coated and spread into an even layer.
  6. Bake the caramel corn, mixing about every 15 minutes with a silicone spatula, scraping up any caramel from the bottom of the pan, until a cooled piece of popcorn is very crunchy, about 45 minutes to 1 hour total. (To test for doneness, take a few pieces of popcorn out of the oven and let cool. If they’re crunchy, then the caramel corn is done.)
  7. Transfer the caramel corn to a clean, rimmed baking sheet to cool completely (it will crisp as it cools). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.