Candied Popcorn and Nuts Recipe

With healthy maple syrup as the main ingredient in the candied glaze, this is a homemade, modern alternative to a generation-defining snack.

From "Maple Syrup Cookbook"
June 2016

Yield: About 2 1/2 quarts

Just the thought of warm, flowing maple syrup would have anyone’s mouth watering for a full breakfast topped with that amber goodness. With over a hundred recipes (complete with full-color pictures), Ken Haedrich’s Maple Syrup Cookbook (Storey Publishing, 2015) will have you ready for breakfast, as well as every other meal of the day. Soups, appetizers, dinners and desserts are all elevated by this key ingredient’s unique flavor, and easy recipes like these provide unforgettable new ways to satisfy any craving for natural, healthy maple syrup.

My generation grew up on a mass-market version of this, and frankly I don’t remember if it was the sweet, candied popcorn or the prize at the bottom of the box we liked more.


• 2 cups walnuts (or other nuts)
• 1 cup raw (untoasted) sunflower seeds
• 2 quarts popped popcorn, unsalted and unbuttered
• 1-1/2 cups sugar
• 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
• 1/2 cup water
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. You will need three baking sheets for this recipe; grease two of them very lightly and set aside.

2. Spread the nuts and seeds on the third baking sheet. In the preheated oven, toast the nuts and seeds for 7 minutes, stirring once. Turn off the oven. Remove the baking sheet. Spread the popcorn on top of the nuts and seeds. Return to the oven to keep warm.

3. Bring the sugar, maple syrup, water, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium pot. Boil partially covered, until the mixture reaches 290 degrees F/145 degrees C on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.

4. Having help for this next step will make it easier. Quickly transfer the popcorn mix to the largest bowl you have and pour in the hot liquid (one person can support the pot while the other scrapes the liquid into the mix). Working quickly—it will soon stiffen—stir to coat the entire mixture. Spread on the greased baking sheets and let cool for 30 minutes.

5. Break the mixture apart. Store in plastic bags or tins.

More from The Maple Syrup Cookbook

Roasted Pepper and Chickpea Salad Recipe
Homemade Maple Butter Recipe
Whole-Wheat Waffles Recipe
Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Maple Syrup Candy Recipe

Excerpted from The Maple Syrup Cookbook, 3rd Ed. (c) Ken Haedrich. Photographs by (c) Michael Piazza Photography. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.