Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Native Blend Popcorn Balls

Popcorn, sunflowers, pumpkins, blueberries, and cranberries are all foods native to the Americas. They’re darn tasty, too!

makes 12 balls

10 cups popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped kernels, popped in 1/8 cup corn or canola oil)
1/3 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds (or buy them raw and toast your own, see below)
1/3 cup dried blueberries
1/3 cup dried cranberries
¼ cup brown rice syrup
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
margarine or oil

To toast raw pumpkin seeds, preheat the oven to 350º. Place the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and toast, shaking the pan one or two times, for 10 minutes, until the seeds are slightly puffed. Set aside.

Pop the popcorn and place it in a large mixing bowl with the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried blueberries and dried cranberries. Remove any unpopped kernels. Set aside.

Place the brown rice syrup, brown sugar, salt, and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils over the entire surface. Stop stirring and adjust the heat if necessary to maintain this constant boil without boiling over.

Okay, now you have a choice. If you want soft, somewhat gooey, chewy popcorn balls (my personal preference), boil for about 8-10 minutes (240º on a candy thermometer, aka soft-ball stage). If you want hard, less chewy popcorn balls that crackle when you crunch into them (my husband’s preference), boil for up to 15 minutes (250º on a candy thermometer, aka hard-ball stage).

Pour the sugar mixture evenly over the popcorn, stirring constantly until everything is completely coated, being sure to stir from the bottom of the bowl to catch all those little sunflower seeds that like to fall to the bottom. Put some margarine or oil on your hands to keep the mixture from sticking. Scoop up large handfuls and shape into balls, pressing firmly (if you are packing some inside a lunch box, make sure you make them small or flat enough so that they fit with the lid closed).

Work quickly before the mixture has a chance to cool. If the mixture gets too firm to shape, place it in a warm (300º) oven for 1 to 2 minutes to soften.


Ruthie said...

Looks good Jennifer, but what happened to the waffle recipe? I was just about to make it when it disappeared :(


Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, ruthie! I'm not sure what waffle recipe you're referring to, perhaps it was on a different site? I have never posted a waffle recipe...yet!

Ruthie said...

Sorry! I thought you had posted a recipe for those yummy looking oatmeal flax waffles from shmoo's lunch box. The ones with the pbtr and applesauce? Maybe I'm crazy, they just looked super good :-D


Anonymous said...

Love the idea for the American-themed Popcorn balls. Could you also share your source for dried fruits? I'm in NY and I can't find any unsweeted cranberries or blueberries. I want to buy Organic, and also vegan. All I can find is non-organic, sweetened with sugar, AND oil added, too! That's not fruit anymore, that's *candy* - ;-) - so I never buy any.

Thanks for all your recipes!

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Hilly! Yes, it's hard to find dried blueberries, cherries, or cranberries with no added sugar or oil, let alone organic. To be honest, I gave up and bought mine from the bulk bins at the supermarket.

But here's an online source that sells fruit-sweetened dried blueberries and cranberries:

...and here's one that sells organic, but with sugar and oil:

Anonymous said...

A lot of the recipes go up and down. The fondu (sp) one, the corn pone was up and down for awhile. I came back to grab the fondu recipe for dinner and it was gone. :/

Popcorn balls look good though, Jennifer. I can't wait to try them. :)

Cassie said...

I made the popcorn balls last night for some friends, they were a blast to make and eat...thanks so much for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

I cut down on the sugar a bit, but these came out great. Very easy and such a nice treat to pack in a lunch.

Anonymous said...

try just tomatoes out of california, they have a whole line of freeze dried organic fruits and vegetables that retain their color and flavor naturally with nooooo added anything...amazing!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kate,
Would you recommend putting freeze tried fruits into this recipe? I'm not really sure how they would turn out. Who knows--they may even be better.

Anonymous said...

These sound delicious! I still have to get all of the ingredients together, but I NEED to try these buggers! Thanks for posting this recipe and all of the others; I get some great ideas for (my) school lunch from your site. ^_^ Although I'm just vegitarean (not vegan), the meat-free theme has been super-helpful.

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