Gotta love facebook. I had at some point or another "liked" the Cooking Channel. Today, they posted about Popcorn Balls, Reinvented. Maybe because it was just before lunch, or maybe it was because I have a perpetual sweet tooth and an undying love for bacon, but I just made these Salted Caramel Bacon Popcorn Balls...and they. are. the. bomb!
First I took 1 1/2 C of sugar, 1/2 C dark brown sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1/2 C light Karo syrup and put them in a sauce pan, stirring occasionally until it boiled and the sugars were melted together and all gooey. Then I removed it from the heat and whisked in 2 tablespoons of butter and returned it to the heat until just boiling again.
While the sugars were melding I popped 2 bags of popcorn. The recipe called for 9 Cups, which worked out to be about 1 1/2 bags. I also bought some microwavable bacon and popped it in until crispy. Then crumbled the bacon in with the popcorn.
Ok, back to the caramel sauce, it's just started boiling again and I removed it from the heat, added 2 teaspoons of dark rum, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. It fizzled and bubbled and turned this amazing light caramel color.
I dumped that beautiful caramel over the bacon/popcorn mixture and then stirred until well coated. I then put on some latex gloves and coated them with a little vegetable oil and formed a dozen lovely popcorn balls.
All that's left is for mom to snack on some gooey left overs in the bottom of the bowl, and presto, happy kids!