Sweet-and-Spicy Popcorn Balls

  • Yield servings

A perfectly refined marriage of competing flavors. Whatever you do, do not put these in a big bowl by the couch and dig in for a Reality-TV marathon.

Ingredients

2 cups hulled pumpkin seeds or slivered almond
3 packages natural microwave popcorn
2 cups agave nectar
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons melted refined coconut oil or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the pumpkin seeds or almonds in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until nicely toasted, stirring once. Transfer to a large heat-proof bowl and set aside. Pop the popcorn according to package instructions and transfer to the bowl. Toss the popcorn with the seeds or nuts until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
  3. Combine the agave nectar and 1/2 cup of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring every other minute so that the mixture does not stick to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the liquid turns to deep amber, about 10 minutes more. Turn off the heat and let the syrup sit for 1 minute. While whisking briskly, add the coconut oil, the vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne and continue to whisk until the caramel is smooth, Cool for 1 minute, then pour the caramel over the popcorn mixture and stir until evenly coated. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  4. Put on sanitary rubber gloves and add a dime-sized dollop of coconut oil in the palm of one hand. Rub your hands together until your palms are slightly coated and shape the popcorn mixture into three-inch balls.

Reprinted with permission from Babycakes Covers the Classics by Erin Mckenna. © The Crown Publishing Group 2011

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