Rosemary, who is apparently a cook at Oleana (the recipe is from Ana Sortun’s Spice), is also a popcorn genius. I make this at least several times each autumn, usually doubling the recipe.
1/3 cup yellow popcorn
1/2 cup lightly toasted and salted pecan pieces
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 TB salt (note: I think this is way too much salt - the one flaw in the recipe - and I use 1 1/2 tsp instead)
2 TB unsalted butter
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp Aleppo chilies (available at Penzey’s or Formaggio Kitchen - use less if you’re afraid it’ll be too spicy for kids)
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Prepare your popcorn - I usually do it stovetop, but you can do it in the microwave in a paper bag if you prefer. Pour the popped popcorn in a large mixing bowl, remove any unpopped kernels, and stir in the pecans.
3. Pour 1/2 cup water in a deep 4-quart saucepan (this bubbles up a lot, so err on the side of large in your pan choice). Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the water and add the butter. Cook over medium-high heat without stirring until the bubbles start to turn light amber on top, and the edges start to turn golden amber, 8 - 10 minutes. The caramel can overcook and turn bitter, so keep an eye on it and get it off the heat right away when it’s ready.
4. Stir in the baking soda and Aleppo pepper. Immediately pour over the popcorn/nuts. Quickly toss until well coated, then spread the out in a flat, even layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Let cool for 30 minutes, then break it apart and serve.