Maple Pecan Popcorn Balls

Maple Popcorn Balls
Mark Boughton/styling: Teresa Blackburn
  • Yield: 18 pieces
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins

"Light" corn syrup doesn't refer to its calories; it's a reference to its color -- and its mild flavor. Here, it keeps the sugar from crystallizing in these chewy popcorn balls, spiked with maple for a fall treat. Have everything ready before you start as you need to work quickly.


4quarts (16 cups) freshly popped popcorn (made from about 2/3 cup popcorn kernels and 3 tablespoons canola oil -- work in batches if necessary)
2cups granulated sugar
2/3cup water
1/4cup light corn syrup
1/4cup maple syrup (do not use imitation maple syrup)
8tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus additional for greasing
2teaspoons salt
1/8teaspoon cream of tartar
1cup chopped toasted pecans


  1. Lightly butter the inside of a large bowl. Pour warm popcorn into buttered bowl.
  2. Mix sugar, water, corn syrup, maple syrup, butter, salt and cream of tartar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring often. Attach candy thermometer to the inside of the pan. Continue heating undisturbed until temperature reaches 268F (hard-ball stage), about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from the heat; stir in nuts. Slowly drizzle sugar mixture over popcorn, tossing gently with a spatula.
  4. Working quickly and wearing rubber gloves that you’ve buttered, gather about 1/2 cup of the coated popcorn together at a time, and form into balls without compacting too tightly.

Recipe by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 230
  • Glycemic Load 18
  • Fat 10g
  • Saturated Fat 3.5g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 4g
  • Cholesterol 15mg
  • Sodium 260mg
  • Potassium 65mg
  • Carbohydrate 36g
  • Fiber 2g
  • Sugars 27g
  • Protein 2g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Vitamin A 4%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Calcium 2%
  • Iron 2%