Tuesday, August 27, 2013
A Yummy Fall Treat, Candy Apple Popcorn Balls!
Today I am going to share with you a recipe that I found on Pinterest that I tried out this last weekend during movie night with the kids. Every other month or so, we let the kids bring their sleeping bags into the family room and I select an oldie, but goodie film. This weekend we watched The Neverending Story and to my surprise they both loved it! Of course, sometimes we do watch newer films, but I really love sharing the ones that I loved during my childhood with them. Anyway, it is sort of a tradition for us to make a yummy dessert to go with our movie. With fall approaching, I decided to try a spin on the regular popcorn balls and so we made Candy Apple Popcorn Balls. Oh my... these are delish. Seriously, make them this fall... they will become a staple in your fall recipes, I promise they are THAT good.
Now, I did not follow the Pinterest recipe exactly... for one, I wanted to try the recipe with kettle corn popcorn, because the fall makes me think of kettle corn! And, two, I didn't add dried apples...my kids are sort of picky and I just didn't think they'd like little pieces of dried apple in the popcorn balls. But, trust me... the flavor on these was perfect.
The ingredients are rather simple. First you make up the popcorn balls, then you make up the candy syrup that you dip them into.
Another good thing about this recipe, is that it makes your house smell SO good. Lots of fall spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Mmmm. Here I am melting the butter with the spices.
Then I add in some mini marshmallows... and, oh gosh... yum, just yum.
Then you dump in the 2 bags of microwave popped Kettle corn. We used the Boyscout popcorn that my son sold. Mix it into the marshmallow/butter/spices and... then, take a sample piece of popcorn, or two, or three... or a handful. Ok, stop! You need to try to make at least 8 or 9 popcorn balls out of this deliciousness. I took it off the burner and let it cool a bit and then I used my bare hands and separated it into 8 balls and rolled them in my hands until the popcorn compressed a bit and they were nectarine sized balls. Really, I could have just stopped here and ate them all up. But, oh no... we need a candy coating to dip them into still, right?!!
A couple of pictures of the popcorn balls, aren't they pretty?
Next, start on the candy coating... it says in the directions to bring it to a roaring boil and once it reaches 300 F you can add the food coloring and cinnamon extract. I didn't have a candy thermometer so I used my husbands meat thermometer and I swear it only reached 220. I let it boil on high forever, maybe it seemed longer than it really was... but, when it looks like the photo above with all of the tiny little bubbles, it is ready! It still feels watery, but when you remove it from the heat it thickens, trust me.
The original candy coating directions tell you to add a few drops of red food coloring. Uhh, it looked red in the pot, but it did not show much red on my popcorn balls when I dipped them in. I had to add about a half tube of red food coloring before I got the accurate candy red color. Now it is time to do a little dipping! First, put the sticks in your popcorn balls, then dip them into the coating. Make sure you have a plate handy to catch any coating that oozes off of your popcorn ball, this stuff is sticky and hard to get off... so, the less mess you make the better.
Then place them on some wax paper that you've sprayed with PAM. Give the candy coating 15-20 minutes to set/dry.
While you are waiting... try not to take pictures that cause you to drool like I did.
Even Miss Autumn hated waiting to eat them all up! Numnumnum.
And, if you are a blogger like me... feel free to decorate the tops of the sticks with a cute bow or with burlap scraps like I did.
So, there you go... a fun new recipe to try this fall. I think popcorn balls are a must have every fall, or heck... anytime for us!
And, now for the recipe:
Candy Apple Popcorn Balls
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Extract
Red Food Coloring
2 Bags Kettle Corn Microwave Popcorn
1 bag (10 oz) Mini-marshmallows
6 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 tsp Cinnamon
⅛ tsp Nutmeg
8-10 sticks for Popcorn Balls
In large pot, melt butter and whisk in cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in mini-marshmallows and stir to melt. Pour in 2 bags of popcorn (try and not get un-popped kernels into the mix). Using a non-stick spatula, fold marshmallows and popcorn together. Clump large handfuls (about nectarine sized) popcorn mixture together and mold into round shapes. Set aside, repeat with remaining popcorn mixture.
For Candy Coating:
In a medium sauce pan, melt sugar, corn syrup and water together. Bring to a rapid boil and while monitoring temperature with a candy thermometer - bring the mixture to 300 degrees. Stir constantly. Gently dip each stick for the popcorn balls into the candy coating and stick into the middle of each popcorn ball. Here, add in the cinnamon extract and food coloring and stir to incorporate. CAREFULLY dip in each popcorn ball into the candy coating, and place back onto sprayed baking sheet to cool. Repeat with all popcorn balls. Allow to cool completely.
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