Christmas Un-Baking – All Natural Popcorn Balls

If you are anything like me, you left all of your Christmas baking/treat making to the week before Christmas. In my defence, I’m pretty tied up with internship, work, sleep…so finding quality time to spend with my KitchenAid Mixer and oven isn’t easy. But through some miracle (perhaps a Christmas Miracle?), I managed to come up with a pretty fancy array of sweet treats to share over the holidays.


The secret to my success? Hardly using the oven (or the mixer) at all! I did bake a couple of cookies, but the rest of my goodies are of the no-bake variety. Things you can easy put together from pantry staples (well, if your pantry staples include Callebaut Chocolates – doesn’t everyone’s?) while you are doing laundry, sweeping the floor, and writing up your last evaluation of the year.

Seeing as there are just 3 days until Christmas(!), and I happened to make 3 un-bake treats, I’m bringing you my Christmas Un-Baking Series. You definitely still have time to make each of these treats before Christmas, whether it be to fill up a cookie platter or give as gifts. Our first treat – All Natural Popcorn Balls.


I first saw this idea in Eating Well magazine last year, and had it filed away in the back of my mind to try one day. It took a little while for me to get back to it, but they seemed like the perfect treat to add to my un-baking repertoire.


So what makes them All Natural? Well, you don’t make any corn syrup laden caramel sauce like many traditional recipes would have you do. Instead you use nut butter and a natural liquid sweetener of your choice – say maple syrup, honey, or agave. Yes, they still have sugar, but they are a relatively healthy treat to share with friends and family – whole grain (when you pop corn, it’s considered a grain), with healthy fats and protein from the nut butter, and whatever add ins you like. You could use dried fruit, coconut, seeds, chopped nuts, or even chocolate. The combinations are endless! I made two variations – peanut butter, maple syrup, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate, and almond butter, honey, dried apricots, and coconut.


All Natural Popcorn Balls

Inspired by recipe from Eating Well

makes 12 balls

Forget the decorative tins of caramel corn, and make your own healthy, natural popcorn balls. Your favourite nut butter and natural sweetener come together to make a tasty “caramel”, which you can then use to make your own personalized flavour combinations. A great recipe to get the kids involved in too – they’ll love getting their hands dirty squishing the sticky popcorn into balls.


Basic Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup nut butter
  • 1/4 cup natural liquid sweetener (like honey, maple syrup, or agave)
  • 6 cups air popped popcorn
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup add ins of your choice (nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate, etc)

1. In a small saucepan, heat nut butter and sweetener over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once it starts to bubble (not boil – it looks more like little foamy bubbles around the edges of the mixture), continue cooking for 15 seconds, and remove from heat.

2. In a large bowl, combine the popcorn with the “caramel”, and stir until evenly coated.

3. Fold in desired add ins.

4. Fill a bowl with very cold water. Get both hands damp, and take out a handful of popcorn mixture, and squeeze together to form a ball. Don’t be delicate – you want these babies to stay together! Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and allow to harden. Wrap each individually in plastic wrap, and store in an air tight container.



Dark Chocolate Cranberry Popcorn Balls


  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 3 tbsp dark chocolate pieces


Apricot Almond Coconut Popcorn Balls


  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 5 dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut


So what are you waiting for? Go make some balls!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Christmas, Dessert, Gluten Free, Recipe, Snack, Sweets, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole Grain


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7 Comments on “Christmas Un-Baking – All Natural Popcorn Balls”

  1. December 23, 2012 at 4:54 am #

    I definitely shared this on my Facebok page. Popcorn balls bring back such wonderful childhood memories for me. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. December 31, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    THESE ;LOOK DELIGHTFUL! popcorn is so addicting for me!


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