Yield: 1 lb (about 16 cups)
- 1 2.8-ounce bag microwave popcorn
- 1 1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 ounce butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup cinnamon chips (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (121 C). Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Pop the bag of microwave popcorn according to the package directions. Pour the popped popcorn into a large bowl, removing as many unpopped kernels as possible. Add the pecans to the bowl of popcorn and toss everything together.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and condensed milk over medium heat. Stir until the sugar and butter dissolve, then brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Insert a candy thermometer.
4. Continue to cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 238 degrees F (114 C) on the candy thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and salt.
5. Carefully pour the hot caramel over the popcorn and pecans, and stir until they're coated with the mixture. Scrape the popcorn out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it into an even layer.
6. Bake the popcorn in the 250 F oven for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent scorched spots. Once fragrant and crisp, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool completely at room temperature.
7. Once cool, melt the white chocolate and cinnamon chips in individual containers in the microwave. Use a spoon to drizzle them over the popcorn, then let them set at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
8. Once set, break the popcorn into small chunks to serve. Store Cinnamon Bun Popcorn in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.