Dark Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn Balls (Gluten-free & Dairy-Free)

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Dark Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn Balls - Gluten-free and Dairy-free

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.

Dark Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn Balls - Gluten-free and Dairy-free

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?

Dark Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn Balls - Gluten-free and Dairy-free

This recipe was originally shared on the Free People Blog BLDG 25 as part of my ongoing  Restricted Diet Series.


[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.


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9 Responses

  1. Sonnet says:

    OMG, I have to make these tonight! I’ve been following your beautiful blog for awhile and finally decided I had to comment because these look amazing! I am obsessed with popcorn and I love the simple ingredients you used in these. Yum! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. “I pop my popcorn on the stove top in a few tablespoons of coconut oil — I think it has the best flavor. ”
    I totally agree! Definitely the best stuff to use with popped corn.

    Hmmm…I’d like a healthier version of a butterfinger, but I wonder if that’s even possible seeing as most of the ingredients are more like food-like substances than food.

  3. Lexi says:

    Oh I cannot wait to try these! They look amazing.

  4. Isadora says:

    I like to snack on pop corn. Changing it up with dark chocolate is a yummy change for my favorite snack. Being gluten intolerant can get frustrating so seeing you recipes is always a joy.
    Thanks ….

  5. Carmen says:

    I love popcorn but I have no idea where to buy non-GMO popcorn. Do you have a source for it? TIA

  6. […] Dark chocolate popcorn balls (Gluten and Dairy […]

  7. Jamie H says:

    Oh, these were so good. We kept what wasn’t eaten in the fridge and pulled them out for a sweet treat. They were better the days after! And my husband (who loves the corn syrup filled popcorn balls and unhealthy food) loved them. Definitely making these again.

    • tastyyummies says:

      Jamie, I am so so glad you guys enjoyed these so much. My hubby loved them too! Thanks so much for the comment. Have a great weekend.

  8. NJ-Cook4You says:

    Looking good and tasty. good pics to. thanks for sharing

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