As a kid, one of my friend’s mom always made popcorn balls in lieu of candy for Halloween. We were never disappointed — they were so good, I would even trade my precious Butterfinger for an extra one. We don’t get that many trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood, so I thought I would do the same this year.
Most recipes call for corn syrup, but it’s just one of those ingredients I tend to shy away from, so it’s rare that I have it in the house. I know corn syrup makes a viscose and smooth texture in candy, but I always try to work around it. I found one recipe at sparkrecipes.com that substituted used honey instead, and it inspired this result. The honey actually added amazing flavor and I didn’t have to make an extra trip to the store –that’s always a bonus. These popcorn balls taste most similar to crackerjacks, which I think is awesome! I will be making these as a special treat throughout the fall.
Adapted from sparkrecipes.com
Makes 18 small-sized balls (about the size of a baseball)
1 cup un-popped popcorn (this turns into about 6 large cups of popcorn)
2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pop the popcorn in a pot (fitted with a lid) with the oil on medium/high heat on the stovetop. When the popcorn begins to pop, shake the pan continuously. Once the popping noise has subsided your popcorn should be done. Spray the inside of a large bowl with oil spray and add the popped popcorn.
½ cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 ½ cup of cocktail peanuts (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
On medium high heat, combine the ingredients in a pan on your stovetop until it bubbles and gets frothy. Keep a spoon and a thermometer handy. Mix the ingredients on the stove until the mixture reaches 275 degrees F.
Then, pour the mixture over the popcorn and stir to incorporate. When the mixture has cooled enough to handle, spray your hands with the cooking spray and form palm-sized balls.
Wrap balls in parchment or display the balls stacked on top of each other for entertaining – I did this one like an American-styled croquembouche.