Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Test oil temperature by dropping a couple of corn kernels into oil; if the kernels spin, the oil is hot enough. Add corn, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook, shaking pan occasionally as corn starts to pop, until all corn is popped (4-5 minutes), then tip onto a metal tray and set aside (discard any unpopped corn).
For spiced salt, dry-roast spices until fragrant (30 seconds), combine in a bowl with sugar and 3 tsp sea salt flakes and set aside.
Stir sugar and 60ml water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Add maple syrup and cook until dark caramel (5-6 minutes). Remove from heat, add butter and stir until combined. Add popcorn, stir with a lightly oiled spoon to coat, spread on a tray lined with lightly buttered baking paper and stand until cooled. Break into clusters and serve scattered with spiced salt.
This recipe is from the September 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.