Colt and Gray Caramel Corn Recipe with Bacon, Cashews and Cayenne


Caramel Corn

I’ve always wondered which was worse, a conniption fit or a hissie fit. Whichever, I threw it when I saw this recipe in Food and Wine Magazine.

I mean c’mon, take my all-time favorite snack food, add bits of my all time favorite meat, toss in chunks of the most decadent of nuts, sprinkle on some spicy heat, add some caramel for that sweet and salty factor and I’m in full fit.

Let’s begin this post by talking about a kitchen gadget I bought about a year ago.  My friend Vickie in Montana wrote in her blog about buying a Whirly Pop popcorn popper.  Once I laid eyes on this, with 20% off coupon clenched in fist, I couldn’t get to Bed Bath and Beyond fast enough. I love this thing. It turns out beautiful popcorn every time and I think it cost all of $20 dollars. If you love popcorn like I do, I’d suggest getting one. Simple technology with a handle that is connected to a prong thing on the bottom of the pan. It’s always moving the kernels to avoid any old maids.

Going back even further, about two years ago a new restaurant named Colt and Gray opened up in Denver. Everyone raves about it. I’ve never been since it would mean traveling out of my suburban bubble and venturing downtown. Last month, Food and Wine Magazine did an article about the Best Bar Food in America. Colt and Gray was one featured with this popcorn recipe.  Let’s take a look.

Pop 1/2 C. popcorn in 3 T. vegetable oil

In a very large bowl place popcorn, 6 slices of fine chopped cooked bacon, 1/2 c. chopped raw unsalted pecans and 1/4 t. cayenne pepper.  Mix well.

For the caramel sauce, in a saucepan add 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup water and 2 T. light corn syrup.  I used dark corn syrup because that’s what I had on hand and it worked fine.  Heat over medium low until sugar dissolves.  Raise heat to bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes until mixture turns amber. Remove from heat and immediately add 1/4 c. of warmed whipping cream.

Spray two wooden spoons with Pam.  Slowly pour caramel mix over your popcorn mixture and start mixing with the spoons until popcorn is coated.  It really helps to have someone else drizzling the caramel sauce…trust me.  :-)

Transfer popcorn to a baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil that’s also been sprayed with Pam.  Spread caramel corn mixture onto pan and in a preheated oven of  300 degrees, bake your popcorn for about 20 minutes or until caramel is shiny.  Let cool and break up clumps.

  • Was it worth the incredible mess?  Yes
  • Was it crazy good? Yes
  • As a snack, did it help ease the horrid Bronco loss?  No
  • Is 1/4 t. cayenne enough heat?  Yes
  • Could we stop eating it?  No

Colt and Gray Caramel Corn Recipe with Bacon, Cashews and Cayenne…It’s What’s For A Football Snack.

On this day..

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  1. Zia Liz says

    The popcorn maker brought back some wonderful memories of college for me… one of my roomies had one, and put it to work every Thursday night for study breaks. You’re right, it makes the best popcorn!

  2. Karen Harris says

    Oh my gosh Lea Ann, I’m afraid to make this for fear my husband might hurt himself on it. Oh well, maybe this could be a Christmas Day treat. What a great recipe.

  3. says

    A long time ago I saw that popper in a catalog and wanted one. I had totally forgotten about it until I saw yours. There’s an awful lot of goodness in that bowl of popcorn. I would drive in from the suburbs for a bowl of it too.

  4. says

    Looks like a super good snack, but when I eat popcorn, I want to eat my fill (same with homemade ice cream), so I’d have to make a couple of gallons – I’d have some leftover for breakfast that way. What is wrong with this picture: Denver high today – 61*, Greenback, Tn high today – 25*

    • says

      I happen to like popcorn for breakfast…shall we try it with an over easy egg on top??? :-) Yes, our weather is pretty much backwards. We haven’t had any measurable moisture in Denver since August…yes, we’re watering trees.

  5. says

    Hmmm I feel like a hissy fit is born more out of anger while a conniption fit can be spurred out of happiness/amazement/anything. This caramel corn sounds out of this world good. I can’t even imagine…

  6. says

    YUM!!! I’m having a fit over this recipe, too. I think meat candy would be perfect with sweet caramel and popcorn. I’m in love with that beautiful antique dish in the first shot. Details, woman! Glad you still love your Whirly Pop – thanks for the shout out. Mine is used so often it practically lives on the stove. :)

    • says

      That bowl was one of my mom’s and one of my favorites. I love that whirley pop, and like yours, it lives on the stove top. I use it at least once a week.

    • says

      I think the recipe said 2 days. But, since it was a mess to make, I was thinking about a double batch and sticking some in the freezer. Do believe that would work.

  7. says

    I’ve never even seen one of those popcorn makers, Lea Ann. Guess I am behind times and really, since the kids left, not making all that much popcorn anymore. But oh my, what a fabulous recipe. Bacon in popcorn? What a brilliant idea!

  8. says

    Holy Cannoli that looks amazing! So, it didn’t help to ease the pain of the loss…but it had to have made you temporarily forget it, yeah? LOL! Lovin’ that Whirly Popcorn Maker, too. Want some!!

  9. says

    I love your popcorn maker! I never saw such a contraption before! And this popcorn – positively divine! I can think of nothing I want to eat more right now.

  10. says

    Stove top poppers make the lightest, fluffiest popcorn ever! It’s one of my favorite snacks and I have to say that I’ve never imagined adding bacon to a batch of carmel corn. But what the heck, why not! I can see how this would easily turn into a craving.

    Happy Holiday wishes to you and your family, Lea Ann.

  11. says

    We have one of those popcorn makers and we absolutely love it! I’d eyed this recipe in Food and Wine too, and was somewhat skeptical, but I’m definitely going to have to give it a go now too!


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