Rainbow Chocolate Bacon Pecan Caramel Corn: Fair Food Showdown

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.


With the Arizona State Fair headed our way tomorrow, we at Chow Bella decided on our latest challenge: Create a "fair food" that kicks it up a notch No one dared to cook with bugs, but we did have some creative entries. Check back later this week, when critic Laura Hahnefeld will choose her favorite.

Today: Amy Silverman shares her little popcorn experiment. 

For the latest Chow Bella showdown, I decided to go with an "elevated" version of a carnival/fair classic: caramel corn. After a long hunt, I landed on a recipe from Real Simple magazine, which I chose primarily because there was no candy thermometer involved. 

Find out what went right -- and what went wrong -- after the jump. 

First of all, you need to know that I cheated. I did not make my own popcorn. I bought a bag of Vic's pre-popped white corn at Safeway. That worked out nicely and allowed me to go straight to the caramel process. 

That worked out nicely, too. Basically (you can see the recipe I linked to for details) you boil brown sugar, corn syrup and butter (I know -- super healthy) and a few other ingredients and toss the popcorn in it. 

I made a second batch of caramel next, and tossed the pecans (a small bag, chopped) and crumbled, cooked bacon (a small package of the pre-cooked Oscar Mayer variety; if I was doing it again I'd spring for something applewood-y from Whole Foods) in the caramel, then mixed the two batches. 

And then I really screwed up. The whole idea of adding chocolate at all was hotly debated at the office before I made the caramel corn. I was advised against it, but figured everything's better with chocolate, right? 

That might have been the case, had I allowed the popcorn/pecan/bacon mixture to cool completely before adding a small bag of mini chocolate chips. 

Whoops. I wound up with a melted chocolate mess, and no time to re-do the recipe. Luckily the popcorn stayed firm and crunchy even after the chocolate assault. so it wasn't a total loss -- I was able to bag it, add festive rainbow sprinkles (I thought they were festive, anyway), and save the whole thing looks-wise with some trendy bakery twine. 

But I won't be winning any awards. Or making that mess again. 

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.