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Maple Bacon Popcorn

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Serves 6 to 8

Yields about 4 quarts

  • To learn more, read:
    Making the Grade
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 127

Popcorn popped in bacon fat is a decadent snack on its own. Maple gives it a salty-sweet flavor profile that takes it over the top. Serve immediately after drizzling the maple-butter mixture on so that it doesn’t get soggy.

  • 3 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt

Pour a thin layer of water (about 1/2 cup) into an 8-inch skillet. Add the bacon and start cooking it over low heat, gradually increasing the heat to medium high as the fat starts to render and stirring occasionally, until the water has cooked off and the bacon is crispy, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel–lined plate to drain.

Transfer the bacon fat to a 6-quart pot and add the popcorn. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, shaking the pot occasionally, until the kernels start to pop. Then shake the pot back and forth over the heat constantly until the popping has stopped. Remove from the heat.

In a 1-quart saucepan, warm the maple syrup and butter over low heat until the butter is melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the popcorn and bacon with the warm syrup mixture until coated. Season to taste with salt, toss again, and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 120; Fat (g): fat g 6; Fat Calories (kcal): 50; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2.5; Protein (g): protein g 2; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 15; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 125; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 10; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This makes a superb, finger-licking snack with cocktails. The complex combination of sweet maple, butter, popcorn, and bacon brings together these 4 wonderful tastes in a delicious synthesis. If you wanted to make it in advance, you could cook the bacon ahead and then just pop and dress the popcorn at the last minute.

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