Friday, January 27, 2012

A little greasy for holding hands

Lately, the food blogs I frequent seem to be hardcore pushing this Valentines Day thing. I can get behind stacks of red velvet pancakes for a "Valentines Day" breakfast or any number of random, ridiculously rich, indulgent desserts, but do they have to be exclusive to one day in mid-February? Is the food blog world trying to tell me that I shouldn't be eating French toast with chocolate sauce (heart shaped or otherwise) for breakfast the other 364 days a year? Also, it seems that they aren't drawing the line at only heart-shaped, chocolate, or champagne themed food items. Any food can be romantic so long as it's posted about in the one and a half month period following New Years but before February 14th. One blog offers cheddar biscuit sandwiches as the perfect Valentines breakfast in bed. And for the perfect Valentines dinner another blog suggests flank steak with mushrooms. I have a feeling I could enjoy these items just as well alone with my cat on any old Monday night (although I guess since my boyfriend's the one who likes steak, I wouldn't stage something that ambitious on a night he was out).

I think too many food bloggers are overlooking the bigger food holiday coming up that allows--nay demands--foods with the highest possible contents of fat, sugar, and salt. Even non-football fans such as myself can appreciate the unhealthy food opportunities presented by Superbowl Sunday. But I don't think it should really matter about having an excuse, be it romance or pigskins, to eat poorly. (And yes, I realize this goes against everything I said in my last food post about baking healthier.) To that end, a week ago I had a true stroke of inspiration: maple bacon caramel corn.

I know, right?

This genius was the product of having an overabundance of bacon in my fridge and a love of sweet and salty combos, especially on popcorn. It might need some fine-tuning, but here's my process thus far:

1/2 unpopped popcorn
3 slices bacon
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup maple
a couple of dashes of salt

Preheat oven to 375.

Then cook the bacon to the crispiness you desire and move it to some paper towels to cool. Make sure to reserve the bacon grease.

Add the bacon grease to a large pan with a cover. Turn on medium high and add the popcorn. Cover with the lid and shake until most of the kernels are popped. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

In another pot (or if you're like me, the same one, rinsed and dried), add the maple syrup and butter and heat over medium heat. When bubbles start to form, stir vigorously with a whisk for 4-5 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.

Crumble the bacon and add it to the bowl with the popcorn. Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn. I then tossed it with salad tongs to evenly distribute. Pour the popcorn onto a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper (or one of those slipat mats if you have one). Put in the oven for around 10 minutes until the caramel is dry and delicious.

Separate any globs of popcorn that may have become stuck together and enjoy!


  1. That does sound awfully good. I'm surprised no one has thought of it before. Maybe because, like me, they assume that the popcorn will absorb the bacon grease and become disgusting. Can you assure your readers that is not the case? What about just eating the bacon/corn without the sauce? Can bacon/chedder popcorn be far behind?

  2. I think without the sauce you might as well just eat bacon and popcorn side by side because it wouldn't feel like a cohesive product. That said, bacon cheddar corn would be great. In fact, I had something like that at a fancy popcorn place in Pittsburgh--only it was bacon flavored instead of having actual pieces of bacon, so it wasn't as good.

  3. I'm with ya Susan! I love superbowl food, even though I don't usually watch it. Queso with italian sausage and tomatoes mixed in. Yummmmmmmmmm. Your recipe looks delish too!