A Salty-Sweet Surprise for National Popcorn Day

Try an all-new bacon, peanut and caramel corn recipe from Zac Young for national popcorn day.
By: Lindsay Damast

When we heard that today was National Popcorn Day, we here at Cooking Channel immediately began plotting the number of ways to celebrate this food holiday: super spicy? classically cheesy? dressed in herbs? Since January (and our get-fit resolve) is waning, we settled on sweet, in the form of crunchy, sugar-coated caramely, caramely caramel corn.

But no ordinary caramel corn recipe would do — this day comes just once a year, after all — so we turned to the master of sweets himself,  Double Ovens chef and Unique Sweets star Zac Young, to get his inventive take on the classic. Not one to disappoint, Zac shared a recipe that hits the sweet-tooth spot — with plenty of salty, smoky and savory flavor to boot. We guarantee this palate-pleasing treat will have you popping a second batch in no time.

Zac's Bacon Peanut Caramel Corn

Ingredients:
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups honey roasted peanuts
1 pound extra-crispy cooked bacon

Directions:

Pop popcorn with oil in a large (covered) pot on the stove or in a popcorn maker. You know the popcorn is ready when the popping slows to one pop every seconds.

Pour popcorn onto a cookie sheet lined with a liner. Sprinkle salt, peanuts and crumbled bacon over the popcorn.

Heat the sugar, corn syrup and a ½ cup of water until light amber in color. Pour evenly over the corn. Mix the mixture on the cookie sheet with a heat-proof spatula to try and evenly coat the popcorn, peanuts and bacon. Place in a 350 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes until the caramel has melted. Work the mixture again with the spatula until everything is evenly coated.

Let cool and enjoy!
Pictured above, clockwise from top left:
Want more ways to celebrate National Popcorn Day?
• Try Bobby Deen's lighter vanilla-cinnamon popcorn
• Make a thick candy-bar-like popcorn and peanut chocolate bark
• Make a cheesy batch with both Parmesan and Pecorino

• See how Kelsey adds honeycomb and peanuts to her popcorn to delicious effect

Add sesame seeds for a surprising, nutty note
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