This recipe comes from my good friend Val. It has become a Christmas favorite. Friends and family ask for it every year. I hope it will become a holiday tradition for you as well.
8 qts popped popcorn
½ cup corn syrup
1 cup butter
1¼ cups red hot candies
Sift out unpopped hulls or use air-popped popcorn. Place popcorn in to two large, lightly buttered bowls and set aside.
In a saucepan, combine butter, corn syrup and candies. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over popcorn and mix thoroughly with large buttered spoon. It will be almost impossible to evenly cover all the popcorn. Don’t worry—you’ll get a nice even coating during the baking and stirring process (next step).
Place popcorn into two large greased baking pans. Bake at 300°for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Bake only on the middle rack. Any lower and popcorn will burn.
Remove from pans and place on sheets of aluminum foil to cool. Break apart as the popcorn cools. Store in airtight containers or plastic bags. This does not double well, so only make one batch at a time. Keeps well for up to two weeks.