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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Immediately drizzle caramel mixture over the popcorn, turning with a silicone spatula until thoroughly coated and spread into an even layer.
- 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.)
- 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.