How to make 20-minute Halloween popcorn balls

Published on October 27 2011 - 3:02 PM
How to make 20-minute Halloween popcorn balls

EatingWell’s healthy Halloween popcorn balls have very few ingredients, come in at 78-103 calories each, and contain whole grains and fiber from the popcorn. What's better? Our caramel popcorn ball treats have half the sugar and butter of traditional caramel-based recipes.

Our easy master popcorn ball recipe (below) is flexible, so you can really mix and match your flavors, add-in ingredients and healthy rolled toppings to make these Halloween popcorn treats all your own.

Related: Easy recipes for all 4 mix-and-match popcorn balls.

When my friends and their kids gather at my house this Halloween, I’m going to serve up a classic Halloween treat (with a healthier twist): popcorn balls.

It may seem like I’ve gone out of my way to make them, but for the September/October issue of EatingWell Magazine my fellow Test Kitchen cooks developed a Halloween popcorn ball recipe that takes only 20 minutes!

More Halloween Recipes to Try:
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Cookies & More Pumpkin Recipes
Apple Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting & More Halloween Party Recipes

EatingWell Halloween Popcorn Balls

Master Recipe
Makes: 12 (2-inch) balls
Total time: 20 minutes
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Fill a bowl with ice water. Put 6 heaping cups popped corn in a large bowl.
2. Cook the Sticky Mixture of your choice (see below).
3. Immediately stir the mixture into the popcorn until well coated. Gently stir in 1/4 cup finely chopped Add-Ins, if using (see below for healthy ideas).
4. Dip both hands in the ice water. Quickly and firmly press the popcorn mixture into 2-inch balls. Roll in or sprinkle with 1/4 cup Roll-Ins, if using (see below), while still a little damp and sticky. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
5. To store, individually wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.

Sticky Mixtures
Two options:
Keep it Classic With Caramel: Combine 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/4 cup reduced-calorie light corn syrup and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the syrup starts to bubble, cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is melted and the mixture darkens, about 2 minutes. Proceed with Step 3.

Go “All-Natural with Agave & Peanut Butter: Combine 1/4 cup each agave nectar (or honey) and room-temperature creamy natural peanut butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble, cook, stirring constantly, for 15 seconds more. Proceed with Step 3.

Add-In Treats:
Dried fruit
Nuts
Chocolate
Crystallized ginger
Pretzels, regular or chocolate-covered

Coat with Roll-Ins:
Unsweetened coconut flakes
Finely chopped nuts
Toasted sesame seeds
Finely ground granola
Sprinkles

More Treats to Try:
Indoor S’Mores and More Instant Chocolate Treats
6 Tricks for Making Better Chocolate Chip Cookies

EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.