I've been having fun making recipes based on the National Food Day calendar, and today is no exception. When I saw January 19th was National Popcorn Day, I knew I had to make something. But what? Like most people, I am a big fan of popcorn. Movie theater popcorn slathered in fake oily butter. Check. Christmas tins filled to the brim with variations of caramel and cheddar. Check. Bland microwave popcorn. Check. But today, I made something extra special. A co-worker of mine ripped a recipe out of a magazine for me, which was the basis for this perfectly salty sweet mixture, hinting that I should make it for the office. Well, surprise! Monday just a got a whole lot sweeter!!!
Maple Pecan Popcorn with Sea Salt
- 8 cups popcorn
- 1 cup roasted pecan pieces (try honey roasted for extra flavor)
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup maple syrup (or brown rice syrup)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- large pinch of flaky sea salt
In a heavy bottomed 2-3 qt. saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then add in the maple syrup. Stick a candy thermometer in the pot (the kind that clips to the side of the pot), and add in the salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Allow the mixture to slowly boil for about 20 minutes or so, until the temperature reaches around 290 degrees F. If the mixture begins to smell like it may be burning, remove from heat immediately. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Once the syrup is ready, pour over the popcorn in the bowl and quickly mix with a rubber spatula, coating the popcorn and pecans. Spread the coated popcorn into an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sea salt before the coating hardens.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.