I grew up in small town rural Alberta. I distinctly remember trick or treating as a kid, without a care in the world for anything more than what the next house had in store for me. Equipped with a pillowcase and a flashlight, I bounded from door to door in my Superwoman costume, collecting candy and chocolate bars – most of which ended up in my stomach that night. Which, inevitably, resulted in a life-altering stomach ache exactly 2 hours later.
We all know Halloween treats aren’t usually healthy snack ideas. But until I turned 16, every October 31st I was like a kid in a candy store. Or in this case, a kid in a candy planet.
There was one house though that was always my destination. When I’d take a flight that night, I knew exactly where I’d end up. At the end of a cul-de-sac, three streets over. Where a woman always made homemade popcorn balls. They were delicately wrapped in cellophane and ribbon. And they were the holy grail of yummy.
They were simply the best.
These days I’m cognizant of the amount of sugar I take in and what I’m willing to shell out to the neighborhood kids. So in honor of “the lady who gives out the popcorn balls”, I’ve recreated them using natural sweeteners like organic honey and Vanilla Flavorall – they’re equally as delicious and a way better Halloween food idea. Plus, the leftovers of this Halloween recipe make for healthy Halloween snacks for school.
You’ll be popping them like it’s hot!
Serving: Makes 12
6 C popped popcorn (stove-top or microwave)
1/4 C organic, local honey
12 drops Valiant Vanilla Flavorall
1 tsp LikeSalt
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place honey, vanilla flavorall and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Warm until melted and thoroughly combined. Let cool to slightly above room temperature.
Carefully drizzle over the popcorn and mix well. Place in the freezer for 5-7 minutes.
Remove from the freezer and shape balls out of the mixture, one handful at a time. Be sure to press them firmly together so they hold their shape. You can do this with your hands (messy – use non-stick spray to make sure they don’t stick to your hands too much and fall apart!) or you can use an ice-cream or cookie scoop. Place balls on the parchment lined baking sheet. Store in the fridge for 10 minutes before serving to help them firm up.
Note: For a super fun Halloween party idea, make the balls a third the size and skewer with toothpicks. Voila – tapas sized popcorn balls!
Kristy Gardner is a writer, photographer and the author of Cooking With Cocktails: 75 Spirited Recipes (Countryman Press). She’s written & photographed with Edible Communities, The Taste Canada Food Writing Awards, and CountryMan Press and has presented at The Food Blogger’s Online Summit. Kristy lives in Vancouver, B.C. and has a penchant for farm fresh cocktails, carbs, hiking in the backcountry, bad ’80s films, bourbon, and pigs. Stalk her at SheEats.ca.
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