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.
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
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