This past weekend, I went up to Vermont to co-host a food and wine retreat with a few chef friends. We ate amazing food, went on local excursions, relaxed in the hot tub, and stayed up late into the night sipping wine and eating s'mores by the bonfire.
Well...at least the guests did. I was in charge of making lunch and brunch each day, after which I usually hung out in the kitchen mixing up cocktails and helping the other chefs with dinner prep.
(Though I did get to sneak away for a couple massages and some much-needed hot tub time, so it wasn't all work!)
I made several gallons of super boozy daiquiris, baked brownies, whipped up a creamy black bean dip, and popped up a huge batch of this totally addictive Pig Candy Popcorn with Bacon, Chocolate, and Spices.
Homemade popcorn with fun additions is one of my favorites for big groups. This was the hit of the trip, with all the guests passing the tin around the bus. I made about 30 cups of it and it all disappeared by dinnertime.
And no wonder why! The popcorn is popped in rendered bacon fat, then tossed with the crispy bits of bacon, smoked paprika, a bit of cayenne, salt, pepper, and chocolate chips. I like to add the chocolate when the popcorn is still warm so that it melts a bit.
Loved this recipe? Here are three other snack recipes you might like:
- Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Crackers
- Orange Rosemary Marinated Olives
- Crispy Salted Roasted Baby Artichokes
Thanks so much for reading!
Pig Candy Popcorn with Bacon & Chocolate
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
6 slices bacon
1/3 cup popcorn kernals (unpopped)
1 teaspoon smoked spanish paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Place a large and deep heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the oil and the bacon and cook for about 7-10 minutes until all the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp (but not burned). Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool, reserving the fat in the pan.
Raise the heat to medium-high, and add 5 popcorn kernels to the pan. Cook for a minute or two until they pop, then add the rest of the popcorn kernels. Cover and cook, shaking the pan constantly until the popcorn stops popping. (Don’t be tempted to peek while the popcorn is popping—you’ll end up with popcorn everywhere!)
Transfer the popped corn to a large bowl and add the paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. Crumble or chop the cooled bacon, and toss that in, too, along with some season to taste. Toss to coat all the kernels evenly, then add the chocolate chips. Some will melt a bit because of the heat—this is good!
Serve immediately, or let cool and store in an air-tight container for up to 24 hours. (Longer than that and it tends to get a bit stale.)