Appetizers & Snacks, Holiday's & Traditions, Recipes

Candied Pecan and Sea Salt Popcorn Holiday Gift Tutorial

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(Updated 08/03/2018 to include Amazon affiliate links.)

A few years back I started a tradition for all my younger cousins in my family. We are a movie night kind of family, and since most of us are on a break for the holidays, I thought it would be fun to give them something they can enjoy while they’re off of school and work for the holiday break. Every year I give them one movie ticket in their Christmas card. Not two, one. The first year I did this my husband thought it was silly. My cousins laughed and thought it was a joke but it wasn’t. You should have seen the look on their faces. I couldn’t help laughing about it.

And so it began each year after that; the movie ticket tradition!

They all know now when I hand them a Christmas card, there most likely will be one movie ticket in it. This year I’ve decided to add a little something extra with their movie ticket. A special homemade snack from their (second-to-oldest) cousin who loves them like a big sister.

Candied Pecan and Sea Salt Popcorn

Candied pecans with popcorn 1.1My first challenge was to figure out how I was going to distribute the popcorn because I was giving it to a variety of people and families.

Do I gift it to them in plastic goodie bags? Paper pastry boxes? Dollar Store holiday tin containers? I was stumped.

Fortunately, I was soon presented with an opportunity to write about Rubbermaid TakeAlongs and boom, I had the perfect packaging vessel. They’re perfect because they can withstand the drive to and from their destination along with other packages in the car (remember it’s Christmastime) without crushing the popcorn.

Candied pecans with popcorn 29

First on my to-do list was to figure out how many containers I would need and what sizes I should get. I ended up choosing three different sizes: Red TakeAlongs Serving Bowls for a few families, Red TakeAlongs Deep Rectangles for the couples, and Green TakeAlongs Deep Squares for the single folks. 😉

Next step was figuring out how in the world was I going to wrap them. The good thing about Rubbermaid TakeAlongs is that they come in a variety of festive colors and prints for the holidays, but I wanted to doll them up a little bit more. So, I went into the fabric aisles and picked up a few yards of fabric. Then I scoped out the Christmas decor and wrapping aisles and found some ribbon and floral accessories to add as a final touch. I was relieved that I didn’t have to go to a craft store to find those last items.

Next up…

Let’s make some popcorn!

As always, I like to take the easy route when it comes to sweet treats, so believe me when I say this one is super easy.

Let me show you how it’s done.

Candied pecans with popcorn 9.1If you’ve ever been afraid to attempt to make a caramel coated popcorn, you’ll be happy to hear this popcorn does not require a stove-top caramelizing step!

Whaaaaaaaaat??!

That’s right. All easy peasy over here.

First things first, make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 250F degrees.

Candied pecans with popcorn 10.1In a deep bowl, melt the maple syrup with butter in the microwave for 20 seconds. If the butter is still in one piece, you can melt it again another 10 or 15 seconds. Depends on your microwave.

Candied pecans with popcorn 12.1Add the sugar, stir, then microwave again another 30 seconds.

Add the cinnamon and salt. Stir well again. Microwave another 30 seconds.

Candied pecans with popcorn 13.1Add the pecan chips, stir, microwave another 30 seconds.

Candied pecans with popcorn 15Add it all to the popcorn and mix well with two serving spoons.

Candied pecans with popcorn 17Distribute it all evenly over a 16 1/2″ x 11 1/2″ rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 20 minutes. Stir once after 10 minutes in the oven.

Candied pecans with popcorn 8Once it’s cool enough to touch, transfer popcorn to containers. Be careful not to eat too many ;).

They’re kind of addicting.

Next, I’ll show you how I gift wrapped this homemade popcorn.

Place the bowl directly in the center of a 35″ x 35″ square piece of fabric. Fold one side over the bowl.

Candied pecans with popcorn 19Fold the other side over making sure to fold the edge underneath the fold.

Candied pecans with popcorn 20

Bring one end in by pulling the fabric up on all sides making pleats as you go.

Candied pecans with popcorn 21Cross it over and repeat with the other side.

Candied pecans with popcorn 23Slightly twist/wrap the two sides over each other to make an X, then tuck each end under its own fold.

Candied pecans with popcorn 24Continue wrapping one end around the other until you can fully tuck it in. You’re basically making a hook and tucking it under its own fold.

Candied pecans with popcorn 26Secure the knot with yarn or string underneath so it doesn’t become unfolded during transport.

Candied pecans with popcorn 27

Voilà!

Now to decorate!

Candied pecans with popcorn 28I hope you have fun making your own popcorn gifts!

Candied pecans with popcorn 3.2

But before you go, tell me, what kind of edible gifts do you like to make during the holidays?

I’d love to hear your ideas and try them out too. Share them in the comments below!

Candied pecans with popcorn 6

 

5 from 1 vote
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Candied Pecan and Sea Salt Popcorn Holiday Gift Tutorial

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Author Stephanie Chavez

Ingredients

  • 8 cups plain popped popcorn
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons butter softened
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pecan chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250F degrees.
  2. In a deep bowl, melt the maple syrup with butter in the microwave for 20 seconds. If the butter is still in one piece, you can melt it again another 10 or 15 seconds.
  3. Add the sugar, stir, then microwave again another 30 seconds.
  4. Add the cinnamon and salt. Stir well again. Microwave another 30 seconds.
  5. Add the pecan chips, stir, microwave another 30 seconds. Add it all to the popcorn and mix well with two serving spoons.
  6. Distribute it all evenly over a 16 1/2″ x 11 1/2″ rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir once after 10 minutes in the oven.