- 1 Cup sugar
- 1 ⅓ cups cane syrup, preferably Steen’s
- 2 tbs white vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 to 4 quarts popped corn, preferably not microwave popcorn, lightly salted
- 1 Cup bacon, diced and rendered, reserve fat
- 2 tbs butter, more for hands
- ¼ tsp baking soda
In a saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, melt sugar, syrup, ⅔ cup water, vinegar, and salt over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 250 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully so mixture does not boil over.
In a very large bowl, combine popcorn and peanuts, if using. Cover a work surface with waxed paper. When syrup mixture is ready turn off heat and stir in butter, bacon fat, and baking soda; it will foam up.
Pour about ⅔ of syrup over popcorn and set remainder over very low heat. Mix popcorn well with wooden spoon. Working quickly, butter hands and form mixture into balls, setting them on prepared surface to cool; this is best done by more than one person, so syrup does not have time to harden. If mixture seems dry or isn’t holding together, stir in remaining syrup.
Cool and serve, or wrap individually in waxed paper and store in an airtight container.