Salted Caramel Popcorn Balls
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tbs butter
1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract or rum (for an adults-only treat)
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
8 cups popped popcorn
6 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Combine sugars and corn syrup with 1/3 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugars dissolve. Once mixture has reached 240 degrees Farenheit, remove from the heat and stir in butter.
Return to heat and continue cooking until mixture reaches 300 degrees F. Remove from heat and carefully stir in extract, baking soda and salt. (The mixture will bubble aggressively, so stir with caution.)
Place popcorn, bacon and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and gently fold in caramel mixture until well-coated. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using greased heatproof gloves, take a handful of caramel corn and roll it into a ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat to form 12 balls. Let sit at room temperature about 15 minutes before serving. Wrap individual popcorn balls in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container.