Thanksgiving Popcorn

Makes 10-12 cups

This popcorn is a fun, kid-friendly appetizer or dessert to serve on Thanksgiving Day and pairs deliciously with mulled apple cider. If you really love pumpkin pie spice, then use it in place of the apple pie spice and call it "Pumpkin Pie Popcorn."

3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, almonds, or walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 heaping teaspoons apple pie spice seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Coat two large rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray or aluminum foil.

2. Pour oil in a large saucepan over high heat and cover. After about 1 minute, listen for the shimmering oil as it heats up, then drop a couple of kernels in the pan. When they start sizzling and spinning, the oil is ready. Add remaining kernels. Cover the pan, and give it a couple of shakes so the kernels get coated with oil. Now listen for the popping. Once it really starts popping quickly, listen carefully. Remove the pan from the heat once the popping slows down to every few seconds, or it could burn quickly. Pour popcorn into a big bowl coated with cooking spray, and add nuts and dried cranberries.

3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, salt, and black pepper to a boil. Cook 1 minute. Add apple pie spice. Lower to a simmer for 2 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Pour syrup over popcorn and nuts, stirring to coat. Spread the popcorn mixture on to the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Break into small clusters.

Recipe created by Susan Russo of Food Blogga.