Fruit and Nut Popcorn Balls

popcorn balls

My husband has a knack for gift-giving, but I’m not talking about flowers or diamonds. He knows that, to me, the popcorn popper he bought for Christmas is so much more exciting than any trinket. Thoughtful and sweet, his presents are enough to make up for the fact that he shrunk all of my delicates this week! My own fault, of course, for suggesting he take a stab at the laundry.

peanut butter popcorn balls

After I discovered that all of my underthings had taken a trip through the hot dryer, and was reasonably cranky, he made up for it with marshmallows.  Yeah, I’m easy to please.  But he knows how much I adore cocoa during a snow storm, and a mug of cocoa is not complete without a handful of mini marshmallows. 

Appeased and armed with pounds of popcorn and mountains of marshmallows, I dove into a sticky, gooey mess. Popcorn balls are fantastic fun. Playing around with tacky marshmallow drizzle would make for a great diversion for little hands.  And since you’ve got to work quickly to make the popcorn balls before the marshmallow hardens, I suggest a little help anyway.

fruit and nut popcorn balls

You could certainly use any kind of dried fruit you like here, although the raisins and dried cranberries I had in the cabinet added just the right amount of chewy sweetness to the popcorn balls.  And if honey roasted peanuts aren’t your thing, cashews might be fun.  You could even go for almond or cashew butter instead of the peanut butter.  Basically, all of these ingredients are just suggestions, so get creative. Next time I think I’ll add a few chocolate chips.

Although perfect for snacking as is, if you make smaller popcorn balls you might enjoy them as part of a football Sunday spread.  When was the last time you had a popcorn ball?  Decades, I’d guess. Your friends will get a kick out of the nostalgia! Popcorn balls might also be a fun hostess gift all wrapped up with a bit of ribbon. 

cranberry nut popcorn ball

Fruit and Nut Popcorn Balls

Makes about 12 2-inch balls

8 cups popcorn (popped without salt or butter)

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/4 cup honey roasted peanuts

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tbsp butter

4 cups mini marshmallows

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Nonstick cooking spray

In a large bowl toss together the popcorn, dried fruit, peanuts, and salt.  In a large pot melt the butter over low heat.  Add the marshmallows and cook, stirring, until melted.  Add the peanut butter and stir until smooth.  Pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn mixture and incorporate quickly.  Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray so that the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands.  Working very quickly, form the mixture into 2-inch balls.  Place popcorn balls on parchment paper to harden for at least 30 minutes.

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Published in: on January 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm  Comments (17)  
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17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a great snack idea! I agree, perfect for football watching 🙂

  2. We make a sweet treat something very similar to this in India too. Its mostly made of puffed rice.
    Love this one!

  3. Super TV snack! They must be addictive too.

  4. You know how much popcorn I ingest watching movies? a ton, at least, per month. Strange why I never thought of making popcorn balls! these look like so much fun to eat and make! Your husband sounds extremely thoughtful.

  5. A very smart idea you came up with! Love the flavored popcorn. I never would have thought of this.

    Enjoy what’s left of your weekend.

  6. A popcorn popper sounds like the perfect present! It’s great that you’re getting so much use out of it. I mean, flowers die pretty quickly but a popcorn maker just keeps on givin’ 🙂

  7. I haven’t had a popcorn ball in so long, but all those I have had seem plain in comparison to these! I love all your add-ins…delicious! 🙂

  8. those look delicious!! I am solidly addicted to popcorn to the point where I sometimes eat it for dinner (balance…) but I’ve never even thought about a popcorn popper!! Is it worth it??

    • Since we don;t have a microwave, I am in love with the popcorn popper! And I do think the popcorn tastes better from it.

  9. ooo this looks so yummy. I really should invest in a popper. Wish I had some of these one hand for the college football championship game tonight!

  10. Oooh, I love anything that has to do with popcorn! Do you know how long they last?

  11. So the man has learned how to cook his way out of the doghouse…good for him! These popcorn balls look and sound delicious!

  12. I haven’t had popcorn balls in ages! These look really good, especially bite size. 🙂

  13. i envy people with a knack for apt gift-giving–i REALLY don’t have it! great snack here, katie–i actually had no idea that sunmaid made (that sounds funny!) individual portions of dried cranberries!

  14. Those look like they could be totally addictive little morsels!

  15. Ooooh we seriously love the idea of these! Although we’re pretty sure they wouldn’t last too long around us…!

  16. […] Popcorn balls are so easy and quick to make, and so fun and sticky to eat! […]


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