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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 Reviewed: 10/28/2013
Oh! I forgot to add in my previous review that I skipped the step of turning the mixture out onto oiled parchment paper, and just made the balls directly from the mixing bowl. It worked fine this way and simplified the process a bit. I'm not sure what that step is for, except perhaps to cool the mixture a little before shaping; but with the gloves, I didn't have any problem.
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