Popcorn Balls

Total Time:
35 min
Prep:
15 min
Inactive:
10 min
Cook:
10 min

Yield:
10 to 12 popcorn balls
Level:
Easy

CATEGORIES
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe Perfect Popcorn, butter omitted, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
  • 7 1/2 ounces light corn syrup, approximately 2/3 cup
  • 7 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 cup
  • 4 1/4 ounces molasses, approximately 1/3 cup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Unsalted butter, for shaping
  • Perfect Popcorn
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 ounces popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon popcorn salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Directions

Combine the popcorn and cocoa nibs in a very large mixing bowl. Make sure to remove any unpopped kernels.

Combine the corn syrup, sugar, molasses, water, salt, and vanilla in a 3 1/2-quart saucepan and put it over medium heat. Cover and bring to boil, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid and clip on a candy thermometer. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F. Take the pan off the heat, remove the candy thermometer and immediately pour the mixture over the popcorn. Stir to coat the popcorn evenly. Cool until the mixture can be handled safely, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Using a large ice cream disher, scoop the popcorn mixture into 3-inch rounds onto a parchment lined half sheet pan, smoothing with buttered hands as needed. Cool completely. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or put them in an airtight container. Store for up to 2 days.

Put the oil, popcorn and salt in a large, 6-quart, metal mixing bowl. Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and poke 10 slits in the top with a knife. Put the bowl over medium heat and shake constantly using tongs to hold the bowl. Continue shaking until the popcorn finishes popping, approximately 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and carefully remove the foil. Stir in any salt that is on the side of the bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave. Slowly drizzle over the popcorn, while spinning the bowl. Serve immediately.

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    Wow, easily the best popcorn balls I've had. The molasses and cocoa nibs are what make these both tasty and unique. But, while I expect them to be chewy, these were impossible to eat without worrying about your teeth or fillings. I stopped the syrup right at 250 (firm ball, but next time I may try pulling it at 245. Hopefully that will strike a balance of holding together but not quite yanking your teeth out.
    Loved this recipe. I made this last night for my kids. I used colored popcorn and chocolate covered nibs. Really easy and yummy. Will be making these again.
    LOVE LOVE LOVE THESE! I have made them for the last couple of years, and have heard nothing but rave reviews! For the kids, I omit the cocoa nibs, but other than that, follow the recipe to a "T" and it is super easy. Having made more traditional popcorn balls growing up, I like these so much better, bc they actually TASTE like something, they aren't just sweet and sticky. Will be making these this weekend for goody bags for my daughter's birthday.
    Excellent flavor. How would you make it less sticky? I would like to keep my teeth. Some peanuts added and you would have an excellent copy of a great American box snack.
    Very Yummy and super Sticky! I used too much popcorn so I had a lot of crumbs leftover, my son is taking of those for me!  
    I planned to make popcorn balls tonight for a school bake sale tomorrow and was pleasantly surprised that Alton had them on his show tonight! Very easy recipe to follow!
    Very good, kids loved them. Just a few warnings: the pot will boil over if it's not big enough, I should have buttered the mixing bowl that I used to mix popcorn/hot candy, it stuck to the inside of the bowl a lot, and, it sticks to your teeth, might even pull a filling out if you aren't careful.....but don't let any of that stop you from making them. The stickier the better for the kids:)
    Made after watching the show tonight. Super easy and so yummy. I was going to take to a Halloween party for my Mom group tomorrow but there may not be any left!
     
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    This recipe is featured in:

    Dinner and a Movie