Maple corn with bacon and crispy sage

December 23, 2014

Author Notes: This bar snack is the perfect mix of sweet and savory. Freshly popped corn gets a sweet shell of maple glaze spiked with Jack Daniels and then bacon and crispy sage is added to bring a salty and unexpected earthiness. I like to serve it at cocktail parties or late nights lazing by the fire. You could omit the booze and bacon, but why would you want to?Brita

Makes: 20 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup unpopped popcorn
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 8 leaves fresh sage (stemmed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons turbinado sugar or "sugar in the raw"
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250ºF. In a large sauté pan set over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until a majority of the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon pieces to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve the bacon drippings. Add the reserved drippings, plus 2 Tablespoons of the vegetable oil, to a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the popcorn to the pot and cover it. Once you hear the first kernel pop, remove the pot from the heat for 1 minute. Return the covered pot to the heat, shaking it over the flame until all of the kernels have popped. (It may take up to 5 minutes for all of the popcorn to pop.) Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl, sprinkle in the cooked bacon pieces, tossing to combine, and set the bowl aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup whiskey and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Then allow the mixture to boil, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. Remove the caramel from the heat and let cool for 8- 10 minutes
  3. using a small spoon, drizzle the caramel mixture over the popcorn, stirring to coat the popcorn and bacon. If popcorn starts to deflate let caramel cool a few minutes more.
  4. Transfer the coated popcorn into two 9x13-inch shallow baking pans lined with parchment paper. Bake the caramel corn for 40 minutes to hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. While the corn is baking, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan, and quickly fry the sage leaves in batches. Remove the leaves when they turn a deep green let cool on a paper towel.
  6. Remove the caramel corn from the oven and spread it onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Break the sage leaves in to small pieces and add to the corn along with a fresh sprinkling of turbinado sugar. Cool completely before breaking it into pieces and serving.

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American|Bacon|Corn|Maple Syrup|Sage|Whiskey/Whisky|Fry|Make Ahead|Thanksgiving|Winter|Christmas|Gluten-Free