Bacon-Rosemary Caramel Corn
4 slices thick-cut uncured bacon, diced (about 4-5 oz.)
2 cups roasted, salted peanuts
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 1/2 tblsp pastured butter
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup Grade B maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the diced bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Transfer 3 tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat from the skillet to a large saucepan and add the popcorn kernels. Cover and heat over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the kernels have popped (about 5 minutes).
Transfer 8 cups of the popped corn to a large bowl (you may have a bit of popcorn leftover for later snacking). Add the 2 cups of peanuts and the reserved diced bacon to the popcorn.
Pour off any grease remaining in the skillet, but don’t wipe it out. Add the butter and brown sugar to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, swirling the pan gently, until the butter melts and the sugar begins to melt. Add the maple syrup and rosemary and continue to cook; don’t stir, or the caramel will become grainy. Instead, swirl the pan every few moments to help mix the ingredients. The caramel should come up to a bubble and appear foamy as it cooks. Allow it to foam for 2-3 minutes, watching carefully until it turns dark amber and all the sugar is melted. Don’t allow it to burn!
When the caramel is done, remove it from the heat and pour over the popcorn mixture. Stir quickly and thoroughly to coat everything in the bowl evenly. Pour the mixture onto a greased baking sheet and spread out into a single layer.
Bake the caramel corn at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a clean bowl, and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to cool the caramel corn and help the coating become crispy. Enjoy if you dare.