It’s a Popcorn Ball & The Great Pumpkin kind of night – thank you, Charles Schulz. Two classics + two pups to keep me warm (& safe) = pure Halloween bliss. These plant based beauties are gooey, lightly butter/vanilla flavoured, and packed full of chewy dried super fruit & toasted pepitas. They’re an oldie made into a delicious new goodie. A perfect treat to share – back in the 80’s, my parents handed them out instead of candy as per request from friends & neighbours. Now, to get this evening’s festivities started! I have about 7 pumpkins to carve before tomorrow…good grief.
A childhood classic reinvented! These chewy, lightly butter/vanilla flavoured, sweet treat is a fun one to share with family & friends. Pack them full of your favourites - mine included dried super fruit pieces and toasted pepitas.
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels, freshly popped *about 8-10cups popped - less means more gooey
- 460 ml (15.6oz) organic brown rice syrup
- 3 tbsp plant based butter *salted
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1&1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup dried fruit pieces
- 1/2 cup toasted + salted pepitas
*a candy thermometer is needed for this recipe.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, add the popped popcorn (any un-popped kernels removed), dried fruit, and pepitas. *I usually add the popcorn first, and then sprinkle everything else over top. If you do stir, the dried fruit and pepitas will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Set the bowl aside.
In a heavy sauce pan over med. heat, add the butter. Once the butter is melted, pour in the brown rice syrup and sea salt. Stir well until combined. Place the candy thermometer onto the side of the pot - be sure the thermometer is not touching the base of the pot; it should be about halfway to 2/3rds into the butter/syrup mixture to achieve an accurate reading.
Still over med. heat, the mixture should be gradually working towards a rolling boil. Once at a rolling boil, it usually takes between 4-5mins for the thermometer to reach between 245*-248*. This is the temperature range you're aiming for to get that chewy consistency. During this time, do not stir the candy mixture.
Once the temperature is reached, remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Stir well. Pour the hot candy mixture over the bowl of popcorn, dried fruit, and pepitas. *You'll want to work quickly as once the candy mixture begins to cool, it will begin to harden. Fold all the ingredients until everything is evenly coated.
Dampen your hands with a little cold water and take a portion of the popcorn mixture. Form a softball sized ball, gently applying pressure to ensure everything sticks together. Place the popcorn ball onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the popcorn mixture is used up.
Once all the popcorn balls are on the baking sheet, allow them to rest on the counter for about 15mins, or in the fridge for 5mins, to setup.
Serve or wrap each ball in plastic wrap and store in a cool place. Good for 5-7days.