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Chocolate Pretzel & Cherry Popcorn Balls

September/October 2011

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These popcorn balls are made with agave nectar and peanut butter and are spiked with chocolate-covered pretzels and dried cherries for a special treat. Try making them for your Halloween party this year.


Chocolate Pretzel & Cherry Popcorn Balls

Makes: 12 (2-inch) balls

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Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 6 heaping cups popped corn
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (see Note) or honey
  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter or almond butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dark chocolate-covered pretzels
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dried cherries

Preparation

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Prepare a medium bowl of ice water. Put popcorn in a large bowl.
  2. Combine agave (or honey) and peanut butter (or almond butter) in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently but constantly. As soon as the mixture starts to lightly bubble, cook, stirring constantly, for 15 seconds more.
  3. Immediately pour the mixture evenly over the popcorn; gently mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well coated. Gently stir in dark chocolate-covered pretzels and finely chopped dried cherries.
  4. Dip both hands in the ice water. Working quickly, press small handfuls (heaping 1/4 cup each) of the popcorn mixture firmly into 2-inch balls. (Make sure each ball gets a little bit of the pretzels and dried cherries.) Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. If they seem too fragile, rinse hands with cold water and press and squeeze each ball again to help keep it together.
  5. Let cool completely before storing. To store, individually wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Wrap airtight for up to 2 days, but best the day they are made.
  • Note: Agave syrup or nectar is the naturally sweet juice extracted from the agave plant. It has a lower glycemic index and is lower in calories than table sugar, but is even sweeter. Use it in moderation when substituting for table sugar. Look for it near other sweeteners in health food stores and well-stocked supermarkets.

Nutrition

Per ball: 89 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 6 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 34 mg sodium; 18 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 carbohydrate (other), 1 fat


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