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Eggnog Popcorn Balls Recipe

Eggnog Popcorn Balls
Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: | Makes: 6 (3-inch) popcorn balls

The combination of vanilla, nutmeg, and pecans gives these popcorn balls all the flavor of eggnog without the booze.

Special equipment: You’ll need a reliable candy/fat thermometer for this recipe.

Game plan: The popcorn balls will last up to 5 days when stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

This recipe was featured as part of our Popcorn Balls for the Holidays project.

INGREDIENTS
  • 9 cups plain popped popcorn
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces, plus more for coating the bowl and your hands
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Coat a large heatproof bowl with butter, vegetable oil, or cooking spray and place the popcorn in the bowl.
  2. Place the sugar, corn syrup, water, vinegar, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture registers 260°F on a candy/fat thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the measured butter, nutmeg, and vanilla until melted and smooth.
  3. Immediately drizzle the sugar mixture over the popcorn. Add the pecans and stir continuously with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the bowl, until the popcorn is thoroughly coated and cool enough to handle, about 3 minutes.
  4. Using buttered or oiled hands, tightly press the mixture (it may still be a bit warm) into 3-inch rounds. Place on waxed or parchment paper to cool completely, about 15 to 20 minutes.