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Maple Bacon Popcorn

Photograph by Jason Wyche

There is no snack we love more than popcorn. It's easy, gluten-free and perfect for any occasion. When we received our copy of Party Popcorn: 75 Creative Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Snack, we knew we had a winner. Around the holidays, big tins of flavored popcorn are a great go-to gift, but the flavor never blows us away. When we started making it ourselves, we couldn't believe how delicious it was. The recipes run from sweet to savory to completely indulgent, so there really is something for everyone.

When we first flipped through the book, Ashton's Maple Bacon Popcorn was the first one that caught our eye. Salty-sweet popcorn? Yes please!

Together, maple and bacon are classic, charming, and timeless. The flavors remind us of waking up to sweet aromas, breakfasts in bed, and big, warm hugs. Creative cooks have unleashed maple and bacon from simply being breakfast flavors, and these days you can find the dynamic duo on fried chicken, in breads, and, now, in your popcorn.

RECIPE: Maple Bacon Popcorn

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes

Cool time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon maple extract
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup cooked bacon pieces
  • 1½ teaspoons coarse sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and remove any unpopped kernels.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the brown sugar, butter, and maple syrup until the butter has melted and the mixture reaches a slow bubble. Stop stirring and allow the mixture to boil for 4 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat immediately and mix in the maple extract and baking soda (the baking soda will bubble up a bit). Stir in the bacon pieces.
  5. Pour the maple syrup–bacon mixture over the popcorn. Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir to coat.
  6. Spread the popcorn evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with the sea salt, adding more to taste if desired.
  7. Bake the popcorn for 10 to 15 minutes. A 10-minute bake will yield a chewy popcorn, while a 15-minute bake will yield a crunchy popcorn.
  8. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a bowl to serve immediately.

Excerpted from Party Popcorn: 75 Creative Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Snack © 2014 by Ashton Epps Swank. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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