Make These Grain-Sweetened Popcorn Balls for a Really Happy Halloween

Good Witch Wanda's recipe for naturally-sweetened popcorn balls is after the jump.

My friend and kitchen associate, Good Witch Wanda, is a bit of a wiz when it comes to making popcorn balls.  You’ll be happy to know that she’s on our side, as she uses neither microwave nor white sugar. She believes that not all sugars are created equal, and that it’s worth seeking out complex grain sweeteners such as rice syrup and barley malt syrup, rather than using the refined white stuff. Spiced pumpkin seeds are an addition which makes these an even wickeder Halloween treat. She dotes on kids, and promises they’ll have fun making these balls, and she’s kindly agreed to share her recipe with us, after the jump…



9 cups of popped popcorn (from 1 cup raw popcorn)


1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar (or a squeeze or two of lime juice)

For the caramel-like sauce which sticks it all together:

3/4 cup rice syrup

2 tablespoons barley malt syrup

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon Earth Balance or similar vegan margarine (or butter, if that is your preference)

1. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet and toast in a 350º F oven 12-14 minutes or until they smell toasted. Shut off the oven, remove the seeds and add a sprinkle of salt, the soy sauce, and the umeboshi vinegar, and whatever other seasoning of you like (cumin would be good, chili powder–if you want to spice it up). Put back into the oven for 3-4 minutes. Coarsely grind the seeds in your food processor.

2. While the seeds are toasting, pop the corn.  I’d suggest using stove-top popped organic corn from your natural foods store, rather than microwave popcorn.  If you’re not familiar with popping corn, a tutorial is here. Once the corn is popped, sprinkle lightly with salt.

3. Warm the syrups and the Earth Balance, in a sauce pan until very hot, stirring occasionally,.

4. Combine the popped corn, syrup mixture and seeds in a large mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly with a spoon.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.

5. Oil your hands really well, and pressing very firmly, form 8-9 popcorn balls. These are sticky, so you may need to re-oil your hands as you go along. Allow to thoroughly cool before eating.

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