An addictive blend of sweetness, saltiness, and spiciness envelops clusters of freshly popped corn and nuts. The maple syrup and brown rice syrup pair nicely with warming spices, but feel free to experiment with different blends of spices and ingredients: Try Indian curry powder and shredded coconut; chunks of crystallized ginger and sesame seeds; or walnuts and dried cherries finished with a dusting of maple sugar. Any nuts and seeds will work in this recipe, so use your favorites, and don’t overlook more unusual choices, such as pumpkin seeds, pistachios, or chopped macadamias.
Game plan: You can also make popcorn balls with this recipe—something kids love to do. Instead of cooling the coated popcorn on a baking sheet, let is sit until cool enough to handle, then mold into balls or whatever shape you wish using clean, damp hands.
1Heat the butter in a large, heavy pot over high heat. Add the popcorn and cover with a lid. When the corn starts popping, shake the pan constantly to prevent the kernels from burning. When the rate of popping falls off dramatically, immediately remove from the heat and remove the lid.
2Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In another large pot, stir together the syrups, cinnamon, nutmeg, chile powder, and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Resist stirring with a spoon; instead, carefully swirl the mixture for 5 minutes, until actively bubbling, starting to reduce, and deeply fragrant. Stir in the nuts, seeds, and popcorn and mix gently until everything is well coated. Turn out onto the prepared baking sheet, gently spread it out, and allow to cool.
Reprinted with permission from Super Natural Cooking: Five Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Ingredients into Your Cooking by Heidi Swanson. Copyright 2007. Published by Celestial Arts.
This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.