Today's post is on one of my favorite topics: popcorn party mixes. They are so versatile, and it's hard to find anyone who doesn't love popcorn. I like to make different kinds of popcorn mixes to fit different seasons and occasions. That means it's time for a popcorn mix for autumn.
This easy recipe combines autumn flavors and nuts with maple syrup to make a delicious seasonal treat that is great for fall parties of all kinds. You can also bag it up and give it for party favors, hostess gifts, and classroom treats.
This is one basic recipe that you can make 3 ways: (1) a sweet, nutty popcorn mix; (2) the same mix drizzled with chocolate; or (3) the chocolaty mix decorated with colorful sprinkles.
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients: pecans, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), maple syrup, corn syrup, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt, sugar, butter, popcorn. Optional: chocolate chips & sprinkles.
You can buy pumpkin pie spice or make your own. (here's my recipe)
Step 2. Prepare 8 cups of popped popcorn, preferably without salt, oil or butter. I like to pop mine in the microwave.
Step 3. Spread the pecans and pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Step 4. Combine the toasted nuts with the popped corn and set aside.
view on Amazon: my favorite baking sheet set with lids
Step 5. Over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, butter, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir it frequently while it heats up. Once it reaches a rolling boil (that means the entire surface is bubbling, and the bubbles can't be stirred away), continue to boil for 3-4 minutes until 255-260 degrees on a candy thermometer; stirring constantly during the last minute.
Step 6. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla.
Step 7. Quickly add popcorn. Stir until popcorn is evenly coated. Sprinkle in half of nuts, stir, then sprinkle in remaining nuts and stir until evenly mixed with syrup mixture. (Adding nuts in batches helps prevent clumping.)
Step 8. Spread hot mixture out evenly on a large baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. While it's still hot and pliable, you may need to break up and redistribute some of the nuts that have clustered together.
If you won't be adding chocolate drizzles, you can stop right here. Let the mixture cool completely, and then break it into pieces.
The autumn flavors of pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup are a yummy combo!
The nuts add flavor and crunch.
If you want to add some chocolate drizzles to your popcorn mix, complete Steps 1-8 above, and proceed with these steps...
Step 9. Add a little canola oil to chocolate chips and microwave at full power; stop and stir every 20 minutes just until chips completely melt; careful not to over-cook the chocolate.
Step 10. Use a spoon to drizzle the melted chocolate on the coated popcorn/nut mixture.
Step 11. For a decorative touch, you can scatter the melted chocolate with decorative sprinkles. Orange sprinkles are perfect for an autumn mix.
Done! Let the chocolate harden before breaking the popcorn mix into pieces.
Cupcake liners are a fun, convenient, and tidy way to serve this at a party.
If you are an anything-is-better-with-chocolate type person, then you'll love this mix with the chocolate drizzles. It's a great combination of flavors and textures.
So you choose. With or without chocolate, it's a tasty treat. This mix has a texture similar to popcorn balls--crisp with a bit of chew.
Make it a Yummy day!
This post was updated 10/21/16. It was originally a guest post on Celebrations.com.