After finishing up with Friday Food Reads, I wanted to share this recipe from the Ovenly cookbook. I tested four recipes from the book and every one of them left me wanting more. No failed recipes, all accurately written, and best of all, simple. No special ingredients or equipment. Just down to earth, well made, delicious food.
It was a tough choice deciding which recipe to share. Because I am in Austin, and it’s football season, it seemed like a caramel corn would be the perfect crowd pleaser for any tailgate party. I must warn you that there is a wide range on the spice level for this caramel corn. Since it’s cayenne pepper, I would recommend going light in the beginning unless your audience is just a bunch of folks that live for the hot spice. Then just max it out, and make sure a cold brew is nearby. Enjoy! I know I did.
- 10 slices regular thick cut bacon
- 3 tbsp bacon fat from the cooked bacon
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 to 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup English Ale
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Spray 1 large mixing bowl, 1 rimmed sheet pan, and 2 metal mixing spoons with nonstick cooking spray.
- Lay bacon on ungreased rimmed sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until very crisp.
- Once done, remove the bacon slices with tongs and spread them on a paper towel lined tray or plate. Crumble the bacon once it has cooled.
- Let the remaining bacon fat cool on the rimmed sheet pan.
- In a large pot with a lid, or in a popcorn popper, heat the bacon fat over medium high heat. Add the popcorn kernels to the pot, cover with the lid and cook until all kernels have popped, shaking constantly to prevent burning.
- Transfer the popcorn to the prepared bowl, add the crumbled bacon and mix.
- In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and cayenne.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, combine the sugar, ale, water, butter and salt. Attach a candy thermometer to the edge of the pot. Cook on high heat until the mixture boils. Let it boil until the mixture reaches 305° and the caramel is a golden color.
- Once the caramel has a light caramel color, remove it from the heat and mix in the baking soda and cayenne. Stir for 30 seconds, or until all clumps of baking soda and cayenne have dissolved.
- Immediately pour the caramel evenly over the popcorn in the bowl. Combine the caramel and the popcorn using the prepared spoons. Mix until the popcorn is well coated with the caramel.
- Spread the caramel corn on the prepared rimmed sheet pan. Let it cool, and then break it into bite size pieces by hand.
- Store the caramel corn in an airtight container for up to 1 week.