Cocoa-Cayenne Popcorn Balls

Cocoa-Cayenne Popcorn Balls

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Difficulty: Easy
Total Time: 40 mins
Makes: 6 (3-inch) popcorn balls
Cocoa-Cayenne Popcorn Balls
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A little hot, slightly citrusy, and nice and chocolaty, these popcorn balls have flavor that just won’t quit.

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.

Instructions

  1. 1Coat a large heatproof bowl with butter, vegetable oil, or cooking spray and place popcorn in the bowl.
  2. 2Place sugar, corn syrup, water, vinegar, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook until mixture registers 260°F on a candy/fat thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter, cocoa, orange zest, cayenne, and vanilla until melted and smooth.
  3. 3Immediately drizzle sugar mixture over popcorn. Stir continuously with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the bowl, until popcorn is thoroughly coated and cool enough to handle, about 3 minutes.
  4. 4Using buttered or oiled hands, tightly press 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.
  • Cocoa-Cayenne Popcorn Balls
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