Whether you’re having a few old friends over to watch football or entertaining a three-foot-tall ghost on Halloween, give them something good to eat. Ditch the Milk Duds and whip up a platter of delectable, wholesome popcorn balls. With a bevy of interesting add-ins—from dried tart cherries to crystallized ginger—your treats will have no trouble playing dress-up!
Makes: 12 (2-inch) balls
Takes: 20 minutes
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Fill a bowl with ice water. Put 6 heaping cups popped corn in a large bowl.
Cook the sticky mixture of your choice. Go "all-natural" or keep it classic:
Agave-Peanut Butter: Combine 1/4 cup each agave nectar (or honey) and room-temperature creamy natural peanut butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble, cook, stirring constantly, for 15 seconds more.
Caramel: Combine 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/4 cup reduced-calorie light corn syrup and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the syrup starts to bubble, cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is melted and the mixture darkens, about 2 minutes.
Immediately stir the mixture into the popcorn until well coated. Gently stir in 1/4 cup finely chopped add-ins, if using:
Dip both hands in the ice water. Quickly and firmly press the popcorn mixture into 2-inch balls. Roll in or sprinkle with 1/4 cup roll-ins, if using (see below), while still a little damp and sticky. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
To store, individually wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.