Popcorn Balls

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Yield: 10 to 12 popcorn balls
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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


  1. Combine the popcorn and cocoa nibs in a very large mixing bowl. Make sure to remove any unpopped kernels.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Perfect Popcorn

  1. 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.