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Spicy Popcorn Balls

Source: © Food & Wine Magazine
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Rating: 5   Reviews: 2 See Reviews
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Total Time:  45 Minutes
  Makes 36 balls
Here's a smart update for popcorn balls: chipotle-spiked caramel.
20 cups  freshly popped popcorn (from 3/4 cup popping corn)
4 cups  sweetened puffed-corn cereal, such as corn Pops
1 1/2 cups  salted roasted peanuts
3 cups  sugar
1 1/2 cups  light corn syrup
1 stick  unsalted butter
1/2 cup  water
1   vanilla bean split and seeds scraped
1 tablespoon  kosher salt
1 teaspoon  chipotle chile powder
Spicy Popcorn Balls Recipe at
In a very large, lightly oiled bowl, toss the popped corn with the corn cereal and peanuts.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar with the corn syrup, butter, water, vanilla bean and seeds. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the syrup registers 295° (hard-crack stage) on a candy thermometer, about 18 minutes. Stir in the salt and chipotle powder.

Immediately pour the hot syrup over the popcorn mix. Using a lightly oiled wooden spoon, stir to coat. Working quickly, scrape the popcorn onto a large sheet of lightly oiled parchment paper. Discard the vanilla bean. Wearing lightly oiled sturdy rubber gloves and using a very large, lightly oiled ice cream scoop (1/4 cup), form thirty-six 2-inch-wide balls, pressing lightly without compacting. Transfer the balls to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Let cool completely before serving.

Recipe reprinted by permission of © Food & Wine Magazine. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 07/12/2010
Spotlight Recipe Review See all 2 reviews »

Rating: 5
by: Grace, CA Reviewed: 10/28/2013
Great treat!
In order to test these prior to our adult Halloween party, I cut the recipe in half. Making these on the spur-of-the-moment, I used regular salted butter, regular liquid vanilla, and plain old chili powder; as that is what I had in the pantry. They were great even with the sub ingredients. I can only imagine how amazing they will be if the recipe is followed exactly. Perfect grown-up treat (or for adventurous kiddos).
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