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Tropical Popcorn Balls

Hands-on time 35 mins
Total time 45 mins

Serves 12 (serving size: 1 popcorn ball)

Putting these popcorn balls on a skewer makes them an even more irresistible snack.


  • 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
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup diced dried mango
  • 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 cup toasted flaked coconut

Nutrition Information

  • calories 208
  • fat 7 g
  • satfat 2.6 g
  • monofat 3.3 g
  • polyfat 0.6 g
  • protein 1 g
  • carbohydrate 37 g
  • fiber 1 g
  • sugars 31 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 27 g
  • cholesterol 3 mg
  • iron 0 mg
  • sodium 110 mg
  • calcium 14 mg

How to Make It

  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.
  2. Combine sugar and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium, heavy saucepan coated with cooking spray. Cook over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer registers 300°F. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Add mango, macadamia nuts, and coconut to popcorn. Immediately pour hot syrup over popcorn mixture; toss well to coat using a silicone spatula coated with cooking spray. Cool slightly (about 1 to 2 minutes). Carefully form mixture into 12 balls, being careful not to compact too tightly; place a skewer into each ball, if desired.

Cook's Notes

Executive Editor at Cooking Light, Ann Pittman, explores whole grain's all-around awesomeness in her new book, Everyday Whole Grains: 175 Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice. This complete guide to healthy, hearty, and incredibly versatile whole grains includes something for everyone and offers innovative new techniques to ensure the most flavorful results. From simple, delicious sides to satisfying mains and sublime desserts, this James Beard Award-winning author educates, inspires and does not disappoint. Discover a whole new way of looking at whole grains, how they are prepared, and how they can be incorporated into a healthy diet at every meal.

Also appeared in: Oxmoor House, March, 2016, Everyday Whole Grains: 175 Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice;