From Rebecca Weld, Renew Architecture & Design
Makes 12 or so cups
Active time: 10 minutes; total time: 1 hour
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup pecan pieces, toasted at 350 for 7 minutes
1 stick butter
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon cayenne 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Heat the oven to 250º F.
Pop the popcorn with oil (air-popped won’t work). Combine the popcorn and pecan pieces in the world's most ginormous bowl, a very large roasting pan, or your kitchen sink that you've scrubbed and dried very well.
Now combine the butter and maple syrup in a medium-sized pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Turn down the heat, but keep it at a slow boil for five minutes, or until a candy thermometer shows something approaching 250 degrees. Turn off the heat, and stir in the rosemary, cayenne, salt, and baking soda. It will get delightfully foamy and fluffy and creamy (from the baking soda), at which point you should pour it over the popcorn and pecans. Use a wooden spoon or two to toss it and stir it gently, trying to coat the popcorn as evenly as possible.
Pour the popcorn mixture onto a large, rimmed baking sheet (oil it or spray it with cooking spray) and bake for 45 minutes (stir it once, gently so it doesn't all flip onto the floor), until it is dry. But it's tricky to tell, because it will feel sticky and oily still while it's hot, so you need to pull a piece out and let it cool for a minute, and then see if it's dry to the touch. If it's still sticky, give it another few minutes.
Cool, then break into pieces and serve or package for giving away.
(Note: the added bonus to this absolutely scrumptious recipe is that while it’s cooking and baking, your whole house will have a wonderful aroma produced by the maple and rosemary combination. Heavenly!)