This sticky, salty-sweet popcorn recipe has been in a favorite or my mom’s family for decades. I’m not sure where it originated, but I had to ask my mom what “oleo” meant when I first copied her recipe. Apparently, that’s another word for margarine, but skip that and just use butter. I made a few other minor tweaks to the recipe, but it is just as irresistible to me now as it was when I was a child.
Alex loves it just as much as I did as a kid. Be warned though, my grandma had five children, and this recipe easily makes enough for their family! Cut it in half accordingly.
1 cup popcorn kernels
3 Tbsp flavorless oil (canola, vegetable)
Pop corn in 2 batches (½ cup kernels + 1 ½ Tbsp oil) in a large pot with lid on the stove top. Place popcorn on cookie sheet. Pick out any unpopped kernels, an annoying but necessary step. Repeat with the second batch of kernels and another cookie sheet.
2 cups pecans
Toast pecans over low heat in a small pan. Remove from heat and chop into pieces.
1 ⅓ cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1 cup butter (I use unsalted, but whatever you have is fine, just adjust the salt accordingly)
2 tsp flaky (or coarse) salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
Cook sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt over medium-high heat in a large pot until soft ball stage (240°F – use a candy thermometer) is reached. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Be careful, as it may sputter a bit. Stir thoroughly and pour over popcorn.
Sprinkle with pecans and stir the entire mix thoroughly to evenly distribute sticky coating and pecans. Allow to set up, at least for a few minutes! Serve. You can store the excess in an airtight container or bag. It will keep for a few days.
I also want to mention that on this Memorial Day that we’re so grateful to live with all of the freedoms that we have. We appreciate those individuals and their families for the ultimate sacrifice in service of this country.