Lincoln Snacks Poppycock
This Nebraska-based company grows a special kind of yellow mushroom popcorn that pops into fluffy round shapes for all its brands of candy-coated popcorn—Fiddle Faddle, Screaming Yellow Zonkers, and Poppycock—but plain microwave popcorn is all you'll need to make an easy clone. The Poppycock motto is "It's our amazing glaze!" and it is pretty amazing. The butter-toffee glaze is flavored with maple syrup, and each box is packed with lots of nuts, unlike any other glazed popcorn brands out there. Clone the Poppycock flavor you prefer: all cashews, all pecans, or a combination of almonds and pecans. Of course, you can mix in any nuts you like, salted or unsalted, as long as it comes to two cups worth for example—macadamia nuts is an great variation. You really need a candy thermometer for this recipe to get it just right, but you can also estimate temperature by drizzling some of the candy syrup into a glass of cold water once you see it begin to darken. If the candy forms brittle threads, it's ready. You coat the popcorn with the glaze by heating everything up in the microwave and stirring. There is also a technique using your oven (see Tidbits), but the microwave method is faster.
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter (salted)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 cups plain (not buttered) popped microwave popcorn
- 2 cups nuts (pecans, cashews, or almonds/pecans)
1. Combine the corn syrup, sugars, butter, maple syrup, water, and salt in a large saucepan and place it over medium heat. Simmer the mixture and monitor it with a candy thermometer. Your target temperature is 290 degrees F, or just before the hard crack stage. The temperature continues to rise a bit after you turn off the heat, so this is a good place to stop cooking.
2. While the candy cooks, pop the popcorn in the microwave and measure out 8 cups of popcorn. Make sure to remove any unpopped kernels. Pour the popcorn into a large microwave-safe glass bowl. Measure the nuts of your choice into a glass measuring cup. Just before the candy reaches 290 degrees F, microwave the nuts in the measuring cup on high for 1 minute to warm them up.
3. When your candy hits 290 degrees F, turn off the heat, add the vanilla, and stir in the warm nuts. Immediately microwave the bowl of popped popcorn for 1 minute on high, then pour the candy and nuts mixture over the popcorn while stirring. Microwave the bowl for 1 more minute on high, then stir well to coat the popcorn and nuts with candy. You may want to go back into the microwave for an additional minute since the candy will begin to harden quickly. Stir well to coat all of the popcorn, then quickly pour the popcorn out onto wax paper or a silicone non-stick mat.
4. When the popcorn has cooled, break it up and put it into a tightly sealed container to keep it fresh. This stuff gets sticky and stale pretty quickly in moist climates.
Makes 10 cups.
Tidbits: To use your oven rather than the microwave to coat the popcorn and nuts, preheat it to 275 degrees F while the candy is cooking. Pour the nuts on a large buttered baking sheet. When the candy reaches 290 degrees F, add the vanilla, then stir the warm nuts into the candy. Spread the popcorn on the baking sheet, drizzle with the hot candy syrup, and stir. Put the popcorn back into the oven for 5 minutes, then take it out and stir to coat. Repeat if necessary, pour onto wax paper or a silicone mat, then go to step #4.
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