By Chef Dangerloaf
In preparation for Nekotaku’s monthly anime-viewing party, we at the Danger Bakery decided to make a treat so tasty that we’d keep eating it through the goriest anime (lookin’ at you, Chainsaw man). Since it was a movie night, it had to be popcorn (along with the rest of the snacks in the house, but that’s not the point).
[Insert long, agonizingly heart-felt childhood story here or something about like… overcoming adversity?? Something something the time I was but a mere kitten and my mother… something something.]
We did not find exactly what we were looking for on the internet, so we made something up ourselves, fucked it up incredibly, and then finally succeeded.
For the candied bacon
- 8 strips of bacon
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- A good shakeroo of paprika
- like 5??? turns of a pepper grinder’s worth of freshly ground black pepper
For the popcorn
- 1/2 cup of popcorn
- 1/4 cup of white sugar (brown sugar for a more maple-some flavor but it burns quicker, so be warned)
- 1/4 cup of neutral-flavored oil (fuck on outta here, olive oil) or bacon grease or the orville redenbacher stuff
- 1 teaspoon of salt, to taste
- candied bacon
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
Mix your paprika, brown sugar and black pepper.
Cover your bacon with the mixture (I folded the bacon in half and pressed both sides into the sugar like a stamp; then unfolded it and refolded it inside out and did the same).
Lay it out on a baking rack (? I suppose that’s what it’s called) on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil. This will help both sides cook evenly without having to flip it. You can do as I usually do and forego the aluminum foil to avoid waste, but you will absolutely, 100% have to scrape off charred sugar.
Look up how long you were supposed to cook it from another recipe (try turning it at 15 minutes and then taking it out at 30 minutes) and then burn the FUCK AND HELL out of it (optional, but it really adds to the final product). Wave a towel frantically away from your smoke detector and open all doors to prevent your fire alarm from going off (optional, but is strongly recommended if you decided to do this step).
Spend some time searching deep within you for the will to try again.
Consider making bacon jam instead or just regular bacon.
Then, defrost some more bacon and try one more time with the promise that you will absolutely just burn the house down and start life somewhere else if you fail a second time.
Place the bacon in the oven, turning the cookie sheet around at around 10 minutes and then taking it out at 20 minutes, with only the lightest char at the edges. It won’t be completely crispy, but it crisps up as it sits. If it’s too soggy, you put it back in the oven at your own risk, because I’m not taking responsibility for further burned bacon.
Wave smoke frantically away from the smoke detector again, since the oven still had something to say about the first batch (optional).
Ok, now to the popcorn, which you usually burn at least a little bit.
Prepare yourself mentally for failure.
Gather the ingredients.
Heat up the oil over medium-high heat. Thick-bottomed pots will help prevent burning by having more even heat distribution, but it’s not like you’re gonna not do the recipe if you just have thin-bottomed pots. Use a big-ass pot, though. To tell if the oil is ready, put in 3 kernels of popcorn and wait for them to start popping. When they do, your oil is hot enough.
Add salt, sugar and popcorn, mix it up to distribute sugar and salt evenly and then shake the dickens out of it over medium-high heat until the popping slows down to every 2-3 seconds. This takes what felt like 5 minutes, but quite frankly, I did not check the time. If you’re unsure, it’s better to stop earlier than later, because burned popcorn is inedible.
To prevent burning on the bottom, I periodically would move the pot in vertical circles, like cooking in a wok, because the sugar likes to stay on the bottom.
Dump it in a huge bowl and toss it with candied bacon. Add more salt if the popcorn is not salty enough.
If you’re a clumsy fool like me, you may find that you accidentally dropped some mini M&Ms in there, or worse yet, pretzel reese’s minis. This is a salvageable mistake, and you fix it by having your humans eat it (chocolate is poisonous, after all).
Pair it with alcohol or don’t. I can’t give recommendations. I’m a cat.
Pictured here is some apple cider with fireball whiskey, because it is what they call ‘spooky season,’ and that appears to be a festive type of beverage.