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.
“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.
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
- 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.
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.