This recipe combines two of my favorites—chile and popcorn. Adjust the heat of this candy by the type of chile you use. Make with New Mexican for a mild heat, cayenne for more fire and chile de arbol for somewhere in between. Don’t use microwave popcorn because of its salt and fat content.
Pour a little of the oil in a heavy pot with a tight fitting lid. Heat the oil until hot, add the corn and cover. Continue to cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until all the corn has popped. Pour the popped corn into a bowl and toss with the nuts.
Place the sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Pour the corn syrup over the top of the sugar, and heat, while stirring frequently until the sugar melts and is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Be very careful that the mixture doesn’t burn.
Spread the popcorn mixture over the oiled pans. Slowly pour the sugar syrup evenly over the popcorn and sprinkle the chile powder over the top.
Allow the popcorn candy to cool and break into pieces. Store the popcorn candy in airtight tins.