One of the many cooking shows that I watch on a fairly regular basis is In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita. I like it because he's always excited to be cooking and he likes butter. Plus its Canadian. So at least everything they're using, I can actually get. Also, he makes a lot of really great snack type food which helps to get Sean to be ok with watching the show once in a while. I made this (A double batch) for our Halloween Party, just over a month ago.
I thought it turned out really great. Some people thought it was a bit too spicy. So make sure you only do the Cayenne to your audience, or no one might eat your awesome snack! Another thing I would recommend is to use a thermometer. I managed to over toast my sugar in the second batch even with the digital one, but its not a candy one that you can leave in the pot. If the sugar gets over cooked it can break the popcorn apart or worse you might need to start over - burnt sugar doesn't make any friends. I left the nuts out, but I might put pecans in it if I made this again. You can pop the popcorn however you usually do, I've found stovetop with peanut oil has been the nest luck for me so far. I would also do unsalted and salt the final product before the oven if desired.
Spicy Maple Kettle Corn
(Adapted from Stefano)
8 cups popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups unsalted nuts (optional)
1 1/2 cup pretzels
3/4 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup corn syrup, white or golden
1/4 cup butter (unsalted)
Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
Cayenne, to taste (I used about a heaping teaspoon)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. I sprayed my roasting pan lightly with pam instead of parchment.
Combine popcorn, nuts and pretzels in large bowl or roasting pan. Set aside.
Over medium heat, bring maple syrup and corn syrup to a boil and cook to soft ball stage (240 degrees F.). Add butter, salt and cayenne pepper.
Carefully pour the maple caramel mixture over popcorn and toss with wooden spoon or tongs to combine. Bake, mixing every 8 to 10 minutes, until caramel hardens on popcorn, about 30 minutes.
Let cool completely. Store in airtight container.