Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chewy chocolate peanut butter fudge popcorn balls

I’m not a big fan of store-bought popcorn balls – you know the ones you find in the supermarket during Halloween. They kind of look like you’d break your teeth biting into one. But homemade popcorn balls? Now, that’s another story. Add chocolate and peanut butter and as Rachael Ray would say, “Yum-O!”

Chewy chocolate peanut butter fudge popcorn balls
Yields approximately 34 popcorn balls

8 cups of air-popped popcorn (see below for instructions on how to prepare air-popped popcorn)
2/3 cup of honey
1/3 cup of creamy peanut butter
½ cup of raw sugar
¼ cup of water
2 ½ tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of chocolate extract

Place the air-popped popcorn in a large heatproof mixing bowl.

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients — the honey, creamy peanut butter, raw sugar, water, unsweetened cocoa powder, and chocolate extract. Set over medium-high heat on the stovetop.
Allow the honey-peanut butter-chocolate mixture to come to a boil, and boil for roughly 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens.

Remove the saucepan and the mixture from the heat.

Pour the hot mixture over the air-popped popcorn, and, using a wooden spoon, toss the kernels with the mixture until each one is completely coated.

Allow the mixture to cool slightly on the air-popped popcorn until it is not too hot to handle with bare hands. When it has cooled to such a temperature, form approximately 34 popcorn balls, working quickly, by rolling a small amount of popcorn in the palms of your hands until the popcorn has formed a sphere. Place the chocolate peanut butter fudge popcorn balls on parchment paper to further solidify, and to ensure easy removal.

An easy method to make air-popped popcorn is to place 3 tablespoons of unflavored, “unpopped” popcorn kernels in a clean paper bag. Fold the top of the bag over itself to form a roughly 1/2-inch fold. Seal the bag by closing it with a small piece of cellophane tape. Place the bag in your microwave, ensuring that the folded side is facing upward, and cook on the "High" heat setting for approximately 1 minute, 45 seconds. A great technique to gauge when most of your popcorn is popped and it is time to remove the bag from the microwave (even if the 1 minute, 45 seconds has not yet completely elapsed) is to listen to the time between pops. If there are more than 5 seconds between each sound, it's time to remove the bag and dive in! Note: Adjust the duration of time in which you microwave the popcorn kernels according to the heat and strength of your microwave!

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