I love the challenge of creating healthier versions of classic recipes. Earlier this week I asked my Facebook readers: what Halloween treat would they like a re-imagined healthier version of? Popcorn balls popped up (pun intended) quite often! Traditional popcorn balls are usually loaded with butter, sugar, corn syrup or marshmallows, etc. I figured the easiest way to hold these together without all the junk was honey! It worked perfectly and it gave the popcorn a nice caramel-like color and flavor, too. The dark chocolate drizzle on top is optional, but I do have to say it really makes these extra special and it shouldn’t be skipped if you can help it. Dark chocolate and salty-sweet is an amazing combo.
I pop my popcorn on the stove top in a few tablespoons of coconut oil — I think it has the best flavor. Feel free to pop yours however you prefer. Additionally I always choose Non-GMO organic popping corn. If you are vegan you can try maple syrup, but I would suggest going with half maple and half agave, coconut nectar, brown rice syrup or another thicker sweetener, as maple syrup is a tad on the thin side. You can have fun with these and mix in nuts or dried fruit or even chocolate chips! Wrap them up in some fun wrapping for a favor at your Halloween shindig. As mentioned in the recipe, you can also add in any spices you’d like — it is optional, but I like a little hint of spice. It complements the sweet, salty and chocolate so nicely.
What are some of your favorite traditional Halloween treats that you’d like a healthier version of?
[print_this]Dark Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn Balls – Gluten-free and Dairy-free
makes approximately 12-15 3-inch balls
- 10 cups stove-top popped popcorn
- 3/4 cup raw honey (it doesn’t have to be raw, that is just what I keep on hand)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- a dash or two of cinnamon, cayenne and/or chili powder, optional
- 3 ounces dark chocolate, melted over a double boiler
Add the popcorn to a very large bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan over a medium-low heat, heat the honey and salt, adding in any other spices you would like at this time. Heat the honey to just barely simmering, then immediately remove it from the heat. Carefully pour it over the popcorn. Pour a little at a time so you don’t just saturate one area. I pour a little, toss gently to mix, then pour a little more and mix again, until it is all evenly coated.
One the mixture is cool enough to handle, press into 2 or 3-inch balls, with lightly greased or dampened hands. You may have to clean your hands several times throughout — if they are sticky it won’t work. If they aren’t staying together in balls, let cool even longer. The more cooled the honey is, the stickier it becomes.
Cool completely on a parchment paper lined pan. I cool them right in the fridge.
In the meantime, melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler. Once melted drizzle it over the popcorn balls. Add as much as you’d like. Store the popcorn balls in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat — this keeps them nice and firm.