For Halloween, jazz popcorn time up a bit and make these popcorn balls from Sarah Mason of food blog Fluent Foodie. Mason set out to make an easy-to-make Halloween treat that was reminiscent of childhood and landed on this delightful sweet treat that’s sure to please both child and adult palates alike.
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“These popcorn balls are a fun activity for a fall afternoon,” Mason tells Fox News. You can also customize them to your heart’s delight: “This is a versatile dish — want to add more candy? Put some M&Ms in the popcorn before adding in the candy coating,” she says, noting you can also serve these plain for picky eaters. Ready to get popping? Read on.
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Fluent Foodie Halloween Popcorn Balls
Makes 8 popcorn balls
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Orange food dye, optional
- candy decorations, optional
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- Pop popcorn and place popcorn on a lined baking sheet.
- In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, add the sugar, light corn syrup, water, and salt. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and a thermometer reads 235 °F.
- At 235 °F degrees, remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and let it cool for about 5 minutes, then form into balls. If the mixture is still too hot to the touch, let it cool a bit more.
- Pick up about a cup at a time and press the mixture together between your hands and hold for 15 seconds. A popcorn ball will form.
- Let the balls harden for about an hour, undisturbed. Then serve.
- Store popcorn balls in an airtight container for up to one week.
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To Make Pumpkin Popcorn Balls:
- If making pumpkin popcorn balls, add five drops of gel orange food dye to the corn syrup mixture when you add the butter. Mix well.
- After forming the popcorn balls, take a Tootsie Roll or half a Kit Kat and place into the ball. Add more corn syrup mixture as “glue” if it seems to fall out.
- Use a leaf candy or cut a leaf out of a green Airheads candy. Place next to the Tootsie Roll stem.