Friday, April 29, 2011

Recipe: Caramel Popcorn Balls

When I was learning to cook and bake, I thought of popcorn balls as a bit of a mystery. I had eaten homemade popcorn balls from time to time in school and at family occasions. Some were delicious and some were nearly inedible. Oh well, somehow, I managed. 
Whenever I made them, I worried. Recipes required boiling sugar syrups. I always popped the corn myself and tried to pick out any kernels that didn't pop.  After I found this recipe, my worries were over. It is written out at the end of this post.
 The recipe starts with two 6.5 ounce bags of popped popcorn.
The contents of the bags I have are only six ounces, but I still use two bags, as the recipe calls for.
The recipe calls for a pound of caramels and my bag was 14 ounces. I just used one bag and peeled the wrappers off.   
Two 10 ounce bags of marshmallows and my bags were 10.5.
I melt the ingredients in a large kettle over low heat. The one thing that could happen to ruin these is scorching. Watch and stir scraping the bottom of the pan. 
Pour the caramel over the popcorn and lift the popcorn with the scraper as you pour to distribute it evenly. Then grease your hands (or grease gloves if you wish) to mix. The goo is hot, so be careful, but mix it as quickly as you can because it sets as it cools.
At this point I often add a treat. Although they are delicious plain, about a cup of a favorite treat can make these popcorn balls extra special. I use jelly beans, small gumdrops,  trail mix, or peanuts. 
Form into balls squeezing firmly as you shape the balls . Popcorn balls can also be formed around suckers. Just peel the sucker and press ball around the sucker. The sucker turns into a "surprise" treat in the middle of the popcorn ball.
These popcorn balls have never failed. Just be sure to stir as you melt the goo. The recipe makes about two dozen popcorn balls.
Bag each ball in a zip lock sandwich bag. In the summer time they are a favorite treat in our bag lunches. 
And now, the recipe:
Caramel Popcorn Balls
2  6.5 ounce bags of ready to eat Popcorn
1 pound (16 ounces) Caramels
2  10 ounce bags Marshmallows
1 cup Butter
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil (I use Canola Oil)
Peel wrappers from the caramels. 
Melt butter, oil, marshmallows and caramels over low heat, stirring often and being careful not to scorch. 
Pour over popcorn and stir slightly to coat. 
Form into balls as soon as it is cool enough to handle with buttered hands. 
Yield: about 24.

1 comment:

  1. That recipe sounds wonderful! My dad is the KING of popcorn (we buy our unpopped popcorn in 50lb bags!) Grandpa Anfinrud has his special recipe for caramel popcorn in our family cookbook. My dad makes 3 full batches at a time, yet the white trash bag full of caramel popcorn is gone in less than a week. Maybe we should invest in an industrial size air popper? :)