Don’t worry if your clusters don’t form into uniform balls. They should look unique! To give as gifts, wrap individually in cellophane paper and tie with ribbon.
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
8 cups popped popcorn
2 cups roasted, salted almonds
3/4 cup roasted salted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Set a pie plate in a larger baking pan or roasting pan. Pour condensed milk into the pie plate and cover tightly with foil. Add hot water to the larger pan to come halfway up sides of the pie plate. Bake until the milk is thick and caramel-colored, about 1 hour. Remove the dulce de leche from the roasting pan and whisk briskly; cool slightly.
2. Generously butter a large bowl. Add the popcorn. Stir in the almonds, pepitas, and salt to taste. Pour in a small portion of dulce de leche and gently stir to coat, then repeat the process until the popcorn just sticks together and is coated evenly.
3. With buttered hands, carefully form mixture into clusters about 3 inches across and set on wax paper–lined baking sheet. Cool until set, at least 1 hour; refrigerate to set if necessary. Store at cool temperature until ready to serve.