Total time: 40 minutes. Prep - 20 minutes, cook - 20 minutes. Yields 20 balls.

Try this spooky spicy/sweet popcorn ball recipe

Treat your Halloween party guests or jazz up your next scary movie night with this yummy, spicy but sweet popcorn ball recipe!


3 (3.5-ounce) bags natural microwave popcorn

2 cups pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for forming

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Pop the popcorn according to package instructions. While hot, carefully open package and dump into a large bowl.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until browned and popping, tossing and stirring occasionally, about four minutes. (Do this in batches, if needed.) Add to the popcorn.

Make caramel: Warm the cream over low heat and keep warm while you cook the sugar. Put the sugar and corn syrup and in a deep, heavy-bottomed large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, raise heat to medium-high, and simmer until the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, or 305 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about seven minutes.

Whisk the butter and salt into the sugar mixture. Gradually pour in the cream and vanilla taking care since the mixture will bubble up. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar reaches soft ball stage, 240 degrees F on the thermometer, about five minutes more. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon and cayenne. Cool for about a minute. Pour caramel over the popcorn and stir to evenly coat.

When the popcorn is cool enough to handle, coat your hands with some butter and shape into four-inch balls. Wrap in waxed paper and tie with a string, if desired. Serve or store covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchens