½ cup popcorn kernels
1 stick butter
4 Tbs. maple syrup
6 Tbs. brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup peanuts with the skin removed (optional)
Pop the popcorn. Place popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl so that it is only filled 2/3 of the way. Get out all the rest of the ingredients and your measuring tools and set them next to your work area so you are prepared before you start.
In a small saucepan, melt butter.
Add sugar and salt and stir on medium-high heat, careful as not to burn the mixture. Try to get all the sugar and salt melted into the butter.
Add maple syrup and vanilla and turn the heat up to high, stirring fast and constantly. (It is very easy to burn the mixture so if it starts to over boil too much, remove from the heat until it settles. Be careful not to touch it or let the steam burn your hand. If needed, wear a mitten.) Stir over high heat until the mixture thickens to a thick syrup.
Remove from heat and add baking soda while stirring. (The baking soda will cause the mixture to change color and expand.)
Pour mixture over the popcorn and peanuts, and mix with two long-handled spoons. (Again, be sure NOT to touch the mixture. It is very hot and will BURN you.)
Once all the popcorn is evenly mixed, let it cool down and then serve.