Popcorn and a movie? Kick it up a notch with Ancho Bacon Kettle Corn! With a hint of heat from ancho chile powder, crumbled bacon, and popcorn popped in the bacon drippings and confectioner's sugar, this gourmet popcorn will dance on your tongue...
I did the math... Turns out the answer is bacon.
Tamara Talks (about bacon and popcorn)
Is a "healthy blogger" supposed to write about bacon-flavored popcorn? Admittedly, I did have a bit of an internal struggle with that question. 😀 I do not deprive myself of bacon, and I feel a little bacon flavor goes a long way in satisfying that craving for its salty, smoky goodness. 🙂
So, how do I justify bacon? MODERATION. It works. At the end of the day, I'm looking for balance, and I believe enjoying bacon now and then can be part of a healthy diet. So here goes...
Is Popcorn a Healthy Snack?
The stuff in a microwave bag is not healthy. The kernels are coated with a chemical substance that may be a carcinogen (according to the FDA), and that "butter" flavor isn't butter.
So, what's a health conscious snacker to do? Make your popcorn on the stove or in an air popper.
Air poppers are wonderful, but this recipe requires a stove so as to pop the corn in bacon fat. Lol. In the grand scheme of things, it's not that much bacon or fat, and it's a whole lot of flavor!
How to Make Ancho Bacon Kettle Corn
- Cook the bacon - Chop the the bacon into ½" wide pieces. Fry until crisp, taking care to not cook too hot and burn the drippings. Set bacon bits aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Wipe the pan of any remaining dark bits.
- Crumble the bacon - Using a rolling pin (you want it very fine like crumbs). Mix the bacon crumbs with the salt and ancho or chipotle chile powder. Set aside.
- Make the popcorn - In a deep pot with a lid, over medium-high heat, add the oil and reserved bacon fat. It should total ¼ cup. Add the popping corn, and stir to coat.
- Add the sugar - When the corn begins to pop, quickly stir in the sugar, and cover. Delaying the addition of the sugar keeps it from burning. When it's popping rapidly, reduce heat a bit (again to help prevent burning). Lifting the lid to let steam escape will result in crunchier popped corn!
- Finish the popcorn - As the corn pops, shake or stir often. Remove from heat when the popping drops off.
- Coat the popcorn - Add to a very large bowl to better coat the popcorn. Sprinkle the popped corn with the bacon, salt, chile powder mixture. Enjoy!
Tips and FAQ
What is the difference between kettle corn and popcorn? Kettle corn is always sweet, while popcorn may be sweet or savory. Kettle corn must be cooked on the stove with oil/fat to keep the sugar coating. An air popper will not work. If you get kettle corn at a fair, it is probably cooked in an actual kettle. I use a fairly heavy large pot on my induction cooktop and it works great!
Is ancho bacon kettle corn healthy? I'm not going to lie. I would call it healthyish. It is certainly better than grabbing a bag of chips! Popping corn is fiber-rich, and is a very healthy snack without all the goodies. We reserve this kettle corn for "splurge" moments.
Do I have to use ancho powder? Any red chile powder is a good substitute.
Can I keep my kettle corn for later? It is best eaten immediately.
This yummy kettle corn is one of those "all things in moderation" recipes. Self-deprivation does not bring long-term success IMHO. We have always enjoyed an occasional splurge throughout a lifetime of healthy choices.
Make this Ancho Bacon Kettle Corn and live a little. You'll love the hint of sweetness with the smokiness and heat. It'll beat that bag of microwave popcorn... hands down! And that's why this "healthy blogger" is posting a recipe for Ancho BACON Kettle Corn. 😂