This crunchy popcorn combined with nuts and seeds and covered with buttery candy topping is so yummy, nobody will know it’s a lot healthier than the original.
Make it for yourself, or make it for friends and family–it’ll be sure to be a winner!
2 cups walnuts or other nutmeats
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 quarts popped popcorn, unsalted and unbuttered
1 1/2 cups sugar or Succanat
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. You’ll need 3 baking sheets for this project. Grease two of them very lightly and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Spread the nuts and seeds on the third baking sheet. In the preheated oven, toast the nuts and seeds for 7 minutes, stirring once. Turn off the oven. Remove the baking sheet; spread the popcorn on top of the nuts and seeds. Return to the oven to keep warm.
3. Bring the sugar, maple syrup, water, butter, and salt to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Boil, partially covered, until the mixture reaches 290F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and then stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.
4. Quickly transfer the popcorn mix to the largest bowl you have and pour in the hot liquid. Working quickly–it will soon stiffen–stir to coat the entire mixture. Spread on the greased baking sheets and cool for 30 minutes. Break the mixture apart; store in tins or plastic bags.
Makes about 2 1/2 quarts.
Adapted from The Maple Syrup Cookbook by Ken Haedrich (Storey Books, 2001).