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.

By Ann Pittman
Updated: January 10, 2017
Photo: Jennifer Causey

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

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