I’ve decided that whoever came up with the idea of popcorn balls clearly did not have children. If they did their children never had braces! Traditional popcorn balls are frequently impossible to chew, stick to hold and not so easy to make either. Although I often tend towards the grandmotherly ways of old–this is one recipe that definitely needed a makeover.
This version yields popcorn balls that are less messy and easier to chew. Not to mention the fact that they are so much easier to make.
Traditionally made popcorn balls require a candy thermometer and corn syrup and measuring temperatures and fancy cooking terms like “soft ball” or “hard crack” and well–that’s too complicated when you consider I’m cooking with a 4 year old. So this is how I make my popcorn balls every year:
Before you even think about starting, make sure you line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside. Also, get out your cooking spray. You’ll need it later.
Pop a bag of microwave popcorn. I use extra buttery because I’m a butter-a-holic but it really doesn’t matter. Any flavor or variety is fine. Put the popped popcorn in a very large bowl that can also withstand heat. (You’re going to pour the marshmallow goo into it.
Next add some candy. Miniature chocolate chips or M & M’s work great. You can also use crushed cookies. I am highly partial to chopped up butter fingers but really, your imagination can run wild!
In a large heavy sauce pan, melt a stick of butter or margarine. Once the butter is melted, add a bag of mini marshmallows and stir very frequently. (I find that the mini ones are easier to melt but the big ones work just fine too.) Once the mixture is melted pour it over the popcorn mixture and stir it all together with a wooden spoon. You have to work quickly because once the marshmallow stuff has cooled too much you can’t work with it anymore.
It is helpful to grease your hands with cooking spray and then grab wads of the popcorn goo and make them into balls.
That’s it. You can wrap them in plastic wrap once you’ve made all the balls. If you’re adventurous (which occasionally I am) you can drizzle melted chocolate or caramel on them as well.
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