January 31, 2015


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Cooking with KUTOA: Gluten-Free Popcorn Balls



Cooking Time: 15 min

Makes: 8-10 servings

Feeds: 3 malnourished children

With households getting ready to throw parties for this year’s Super Bowl game, the KUTOA team decided to get to work on a healthy alternative to the traditional unhealthy party snacks. That in mind, we decided to make Popcorn Balls! Popcorn Balls are a popular party snack, which allow a level of healthy customization that other traditional party snacks cannot. Plus, they can be made completely vegan and free of any non-GMO’s or gluten!! It was this flexibility that made this recipe so attractive and delicious.

Popcorn Balls are a super fast and super easy way to feed a large group of people. For this recipe, we decided to choose our Chocolate Espresso KUTOA Bars. However, since this recipe includes nuts, we also included an alternate, nut-free version of our recipe, by opting to swap out our Chocolate Espresso KUTOA Bars for our nut-free, Chocolate Banana KUTOA Bars. To accent the flavor of chocolate in either of our KUTOA Bars, we chose to include gluten-free salted pretzels and raisins in our Popcorn Balls. With the salty crunch of the pretzels and the sweet taste of chocolate and raisins, we have no doubts that this recipe will put smiles on faces without adding inches to the waist!


Needed Ingredients:

With Nuts:
  • 3-4 Chocolate Espresso KUTOA Bars (or a flavor of your choosing)
  • 6 heaping cups of popped popcorn
  • ½ cup of honey or agave nectar
  • ½ cup of peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/3 cup of chopped gluten-free salted pretzels
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
Without Nuts:
  • 3-4 Chocolate Banana KUTOA Bars (the only KUTOA Bar free of nuts)
  • 6 heaping cups of popped popcorn
  • 1/8 cup of butter
  • ¼ cup of corn syrup
  • ½ of packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of condensed milk
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup of chopped gluten-free salted pretzels
  • 1/2 cup of raisins



  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil.


  1. While popping the popcorn, chop up the pretzels and KUTOA Bars. The size of the chopped KUTOA Bars is up to your own personal taste. In our case, we diced them down to about 1/8” x 1/8”, but they can also be made bigger for a more pronounced taste of the KUTOA Bars, if preferable.




 WHEN MAKING WITH NUTS: In a saucepan, and on medium to low heat, bring the peanut/almond butter and honey/agave nectar to a low boil, making sure it doesn’t burn. Stir continuously until the mixture becomes fairly loose and free to pour/mix.


 WHEN MAKING WITHOUT NUTS: In a saucepan, and on medium heat, mix the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar while continuously stirring. Bring the mixture to a medium boil, measuring it constantly with a thermometer. Then pour in the condensed milk and vanilla extract, while continuing to stir, and bring the mixture up to 238 degrees F (114 degrees C). After reaching 238 degrees F, remove the mixture from the heat briefly in order for it to cool for only a bit.


  1. Fill a large bowl with popcorn, raisins, pretzels, and KUTOA Bars. Then, very quickly (without allowing it to cool) pour the heated mixture from your saucepan over the popcorn, and mix continuously.




  1. Once all the ingredients are evenly distributed and coated, and it becomes cool enough to handle, form 2” Popcorn Balls by firmly pressing the popcorn in your hands. Place the formed Popcorn Balls on the lined baking sheet, and allow them to cool.










Jesse Troublefield
Jesse Troublefield


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