Wednesday, September 12, 2012


As a child growing up in Southern Indiana during the late 40s and the 50s, our most common snack food was popcorn.  Popcorn plain, popcorn with butter, popcorn balls, and popcorn mixtures, I think we ate it every way we could think of.  Here is a great popcorn-nut mix perfect for everything from watching TV to tailgating.

Approximately 16 cups unsalted popped popcorn
3 cups pecan halves (great toasted but plain is okay, too)
1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

Lightly grease a large roasting pan; combine popcorn, and both nuts in the pan.

Butter the sides of a large heavy-duty Dutch oven or stockpot. Combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup, water, and salt in the buttered pan.  Cook over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly.  Using a pastry brush dipped in hot water, brush sugar crystals on sides of pan back down into the mixture.  Attach a candy thermometer being careful it does not touch the bottom of the pan.

Increase the heat under the pan to medium and bring mixture to a boil.  Cook, without stirring, to a soft-crack stage (170 to 190 degrees).  To test mixture, place about a half-teaspoon of the mixture into ice water.  It should form hard threads but will soften when removed from the water.  Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour the mixture over the popcorn mixture stirring to coat well.  Spread out on greased aluminum foil.  Using two greased forks, break mixture into small pieces.  Allow to cool completely.

Popcorn-nut mix may be stored, once it has cooled completely, in an airtight container.

Yield: About 2 dozen cups mixture.

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