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.
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.
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
Serves 8 (serving size: 1 popcorn ball)
Calories 303; Fat 7g (sat 5g, mono 9g, poly 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 Omit agave nectar; add 1/2 cup cinnamon hard candies to sugar mixture in step
Serves 8 (serving size: 1 ball)
Calories 229; Fat 5g (sat 1g, mono 5g, poly 6g); Protein 1g; Carb 49g; Fiber 2g; Chol 4mg; Iron 0mg; Sodium 174mg; Calc 1mg