Photo: Jennifer Causey

Anyone who grew up making popcorn balls will remember fondly the quick, hot work of shaping the sticky mixture into balls that would quickly set up. It’s an old-fashioned treat that we’re bringing back because they’re a 100% whole-grain dessert. That’s right—popcorn is a whole grain, and popcorn balls are an easy way to turn those grains into a sweet, healthy treat for the family.

Ann Pittman
December 14, 2016

Hands-on: 35 min Total: 45 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/3 cup unpopped popcorn
  • 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

Preparation:
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 300º. 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.

SERVES 8 (serving size: 1 popcorn ball)
CALORIES 216; FAT 3.5g (sat 1g, mono 1.5g, poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 1g; CARB 47g; FIBER 1g; CHOL 4mg; IRON 0mg; SODIUM 160mg; CALC 1mg