Caramel Corn with Toasted Almonds is a crowd-pleaser.
This recipe is inspired by one published years ago by Epicurious as part of a tree-trimming party menu created by Chicago chef Graham Elliot, of restaurants Graham Elliot and Grahamwich. Elliot’s calls for smoked Marcona almonds but you make the choice: Marcona almonds, toasted almonds, pecans, cashews – whatever you like.
6 cups popped popcorn
1 cup toasted almonds
½ cup light corn syrup
2 ¾ cups sugar
½ tablespoon baking soda
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Sprinkle of flaky salt
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray generously with nonstick spray. Generously spray a large bowl and all but the handle part of a large spoon or rubber spatula. Put the popcorn and almonds into the bowl.
In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, combine the corn syrup, sugar, and 1/4 cup water and stir to combine. Cook, undisturbed, until the mixture develops a light amber color, about 10 minutes. Quickly remove the pot from the heat, add the baking soda and butter, and stir continuously to melt the butter and combine the ingredients, about 20 seconds. (The mixture will be very hot and will foam up at this point—continuous stirring will help the foaming subside.)
Working quickly, pour the caramel into the bowl, over the popcorn and almonds, then use the sprayed spoon or rubber spatula to fold everything together, trying to evenly coat the popcorn and nuts in caramel. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spreading out the caramel corn as much as possible. Sprinkle with salt and let cool and harden for about 20 minutes. Break the caramel corn into smaller, bite-size pieces and serve.
DO AHEAD: Caramel corn can be prepared in advance and stored, in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.