Here's an interesting twist on a classic American snack. Make a large batch of these and take them with you to a ball game — they're perfect for when the munchies strike.
Combine the butter, red chile pepper flakes, and cayenne in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the ¼ cup of the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Test with a kernel to see if the oil is hot enough; if it pops, add the remaining kernels and cover with a lid. Shake occasionally, and remove from the heat once the popping slows. Shake, wait a few seconds, and remove the lid. Toss the popcorn with chile butter and season with salt, to taste. Set aside in a large bowl.
In a bowl, toss the pecans and almonds with the remaining oil and season with salt, to taste. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned, for about 7-10 minutes. Distribute the nuts and cocoa nibs evenly over the popcorn.
Combine the butter, water, corn syrup, sugar, and vanilla extract in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until melted together. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook to the hard crack stage.
Then, remove from the heat and add the baking soda, making sure to sprinkle evenly over the top, stirring the baking soda quickly with the handle of a wooden spoon. (This will help avoid splashing and does not incorporate any air into the candy.)
Pour over the popcorn mixture toss until well coated, making sure to break up the clumps. Lightly oil a baking sheet and transfer the popcorn mixture there. Let cool.