Getting ready for a weekend of watching college hoops and rooting for your favorite team? This quick and easy recipe, adapted from the Colt & Gray restaurant’s recipe featured in Bon Appétit magazine, is for you. Popcorn is the perfect snack while watching TV, and adding bacon, cashews and a tea-infused caramel sauce only makes it better. Starting with already cooked popcorn makes this recipe a snap to prepare.
Bacon and Cashew Caramel Corn
- Yield: 15 (makes 15 cups) 1x
- 6 ounces bacon, chopped
- 15 cups prepared popcorn
- 1 cup unsalted raw cashews
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 oolong tea bag
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil; coat with nonstick spray
- Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until almost crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain; cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, using your hands toss together the cooked bacon, popcorn and cashews. Sprinkle with coarse salt and cayenne; toss again to coat.
- Bring cream and tea bag just to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat; let steep 15 minutes, occasionally pressing on tea bag with back of spoon to release flavor. Discard tea bag.
- Coat 2 wooden spoons or heat-resistant spatulas with nonstick spray; set aside. In a large saucepan, stir sugar, 1/4 cup water and corn syrup over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high; boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately add cream/tea (mixture will bubble up). Stir until blended. Immediately drizzle sauce over popcorn mixture; toss with sprayed spoons until evenly coated. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
- Place caramel corn in oven and bake, tossing mixture occasionally, about 15 minutes or until popcorn is well coated. Cool completely on baking sheet on a rack, occasionally breaking it up into clumps with your hands.
Make ahead: popcorn can be made up to 2 days ahead. Store airtight in the refrigerator.