Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place half of the popped popcorn in a large metal pot. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine butter, maple syrup, and salt, whisking until well combined. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once boiling, allow to boil for 7 minutes - stirring frequently - and then remove from heat.
Add baking soda, stir well to combine - caramel will foam up a little.
Pour caramel over popcorn, CAREFULLY stir to coat evenly – Hot caramel is nasty to get burned with!
Divide the maple caramel corn between the two cookie sheets, spreading it evenly. Break up large chunks of popcorn, and allow to cool fully.
In the meantime, place the remaining popcorn into the large pot.
Melt a small amount of butter - usually about 2-3 Tbsp. Allow to cool slightly before pouring over plain popcorn. Toss well to coat.
Season buttered popcorn with as much white cheddar powder or white cheddar popcorn seasoning as you’d like. Taste, add salt if necessary - you want this one to be good and salty!
Once Maple caramel corn is fully cooled, break into smaller pieces and mix with the white chocolate popcorn, and bacon, if you're using it.
Serve immediately, or transfer to airtight containers for storage. (Note: Don't store the popcorn if you added bacon - eat it right away!)
Caramel corn is VERY hydrophilic - it attracts water - so if you don't store it in an airtight container, it will draw water from the air and get soggy/sticky