Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add popcorn; cover and cook 4 minutes, shaking pan frequently. When popping slows, remove pan from heat. Let stand until popping stops. Uncover; add almonds.
Combine sugar, syrup, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla; stir until smooth. Drizzle over popcorn; toss well. Spread mixture out onto prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.
This recipe is so delicious. I agree with shankoene that it's very easy to overeat, 3/4 cup is a pretty small serving once its measured out and I find myself sneaking handfuls throughout the day... On the plus side though the peanut butter taste is divine and adds a bit of healthy fats so it's not all bad. I have made this several times and it is always finished by day 3!
I've made this twice. The first time I made as written and found the peanut butter to be too subtle. This time I made the sugar/corn syrup measurements scant and mounded the peanut butter and salt and I can't stop eating it.
This tastes great, but I give a caveat to those who are making a Cooking Light recipe thinking it is good for you. I get that it is low fat, but I don't really think that makes a recipe healthy. It is way more sugar than I am used to. And they are calling a serving 3/4 cup saying that this recipe serves 20, so calories can add up easily if you are just standing next to the bowl. But, having said that, it does taste really good.
I made this recipe for at-home "Movie Night" and I was happy with the ease of the recipe. Overall I did think that it was a little too sweet and not enough of salt to balance, so if / when I make it again, I would cut down on some of the sugar and beef up the saltiness of the snack. I thought you could definitely taste the peanut when it was still a little hot, but the next day, hardly at all - tastes like caramel corn almost 100%. I am in love with the maple-chile popcorn recipe (with the cashews) so I'm not sure if I would make this again since I already prefer another recipe. Overall, this may have just been a little to sweet for me, but I think it's a good solid recipe if you love caramel corn.
Made this for our annual Halloween dinner party. It was well received by our guests, one of whom is on a gluten-free diet. Used two bags of Pop Secret 94% fat-free microwave popcorn. I like the sweet/salty combo! And it stayed crispy for several days in a ziploc bag.