Old-Fashioned Popcorn Balls

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Old-Fashioned Popcorn BallsRecipe

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Claire Spollen

Guess what? This is a whole-grain dessert. To keep the ­stickiness at bay, wear latex gloves coated with cooking spray as you shape the popcorn balls.

Serves 8 (serving size: 1 popcorn ball)


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1 tablespoon canola oil
1/3 cup unpopped popcorn
Cooking spray
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light-colored agave nectar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Hands-on: 35 Minutes
Total: 45 Minutes

1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add popcorn; cover and cook 3 minutes or until kernels pop, shaking pan frequently. When popping slows down, remove pan from heat. Let stand 1 minute or until popping stops. Pour popcorn into a large bowl coated with cooking spray.

2. Combine sugar and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer registers 300°. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Immediately pour hot syrup over popcorn; toss well to coat. Cool slightly (about 1 to 2 minutes). Carefully form mixture into 8 balls, being careful not to compact too tightly.

ROCKY ROAD VARIATION: Add 1 cup mini marshmallows and 2/3 cup chocolate chips to popcorn before adding hot sugar syrup in step 2.

Serves 8 (serving size: 1 popcorn ball)

Calories 303; Fat 7.7g (sat 3.5g, mono 2.9g, poly 0.7g); Protein 2g; Carb 61g; Fiber 2g; Chol 4mg; Iron 1mg; Sodium 167mg; Calc 5mg

CANDIED APPLE VARIATION: Add 1 ounce lightly crushed apple chips to bowl with popcorn in step 1. Omit agave nectar; add 1/2 cup cinnamon hard candies to sugar mixture in step 2.

Serves 8 (serving size: 1 ball)

Calories 229; Fat 3.5g (sat 1g, mono 1.5g, poly 0.6g); Protein 1g; Carb 49g; Fiber 2g; Chol 4mg; Iron 0mg; Sodium 174mg; Calc 1mg

Created date

August 2015

Nutritional Information

Calories 216
Fat 3.5 g
Satfat 1 g
Monofat 1.5 g
Polyfat 0.6 g
Protein 1 g
Carbohydrate 47 g
Fiber 1 g
Cholesterol 4 mg
Iron 0.0 mg
Sodium 160 mg
Calcium 1 mg