Honey Molasses Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls
These might not be cookies, but they are sweet, easy-to-make treats that are welcome at any Christmas party—and you can tie ribbons around them and hang them on your tree. If you have a candy thermometer, this recipe will be easier, but I have given you directions to follow if you don’t.
Lifespan: 4 days at room temperature in airtight container
18 popcorn balls
Total Timeunder 1 hour
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Recipe Coursedessert, snack
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian
Taste and Texturechewy, crunchy, nutty, spiced, sweet
Type of Dishdessert
- ½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels (or 12 cups popped popcorn)
- 1 tablespoon light vegetable oil (such as sunflower, safflower, canola)
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup unsulfured molasses
- ¼ cup natural (not hydrogenated), salted, smooth peanut butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 12 yards ¼-inch ribbon (optional), cut into 24-inch pieces
Place popcorn and oil in a large pot over high heat. Partially cover to allow steam to escape. When you hear first kernels popping, cover pot and shake back and forth occasionally. Keep over heat until all popping stops. Listen to popping; it will eventually slow down and when it completely stops, immediately pour popcorn into a large bowl.
Whisk together honey, molasses, and peanut butter in a small saucepan until smooth. Stir in sugar; place over high heat and bring to a boil, swirling pan a few times to help mixture blend. Cook until mixture reaches 260 degrees F on a candy thermometer (if you drip a bit of mixture into a glass of cold water, it will form a hard ball). Remove from heat and immediately pour over popcorn. Quickly stir to thoroughly coat corn before syrup hardens too much; it should still be warm to touch.
Scoop up a handful of coated popcorn (about ½ cup, but you can do this by eye) and compress into a ball about 2 inches across. Set on rack to cool. If desired, tie ribbon around each ball with center of ribbon on center bottom of ball, knot at the top (there will be two long ends), then knot ends together. You will have a large loop for slipping over tree boughs.
2003 Dede Wilson