I have decided to open up my test kitchen to some Halloween treats, to see which ones I recommend people attempting for Halloween this year. I decided to begin with a treat I have never personally had but is quintessentially Halloweeny: Popcorn Balls. I found a recipe for “Best Ever Popcorn Balls” at Allrecipes.com but I had to make only half of the recipe. I do not have a house full of kids to share with and did not want food to go to waste! Even at half the recipe I still ended up making a dozen giant popcorn balls.
In a heavy sauce pan I put in what looked like half of 3/4 cup corn syrup (had to eyeball it), 2 tbsp of butter, 1 tsp cold water, 1 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp of icing sugar and 1/2 cup of marshmallows. At this point I had already popped 1/3 cup of corn kernels in 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and kept the popcorn in the big pot, waiting to get all gooey.
I brought everything to a boil, stirring here and there. I totally forgot I was making candy so I did not have ice water on-hand, do not make my mistake! Have ice water on hand just in case.
Once it came to a boil I poured it over the popcorn and started to stir, coating everything.
This is the part of the recipe (other than dealing with the ingredient quantities which were very confusing) that I was unhappy with. It did not say how long to wait before shaping the balls. Candy making makes me very nervous, I get burned all of the time and got burned doing this part as well. I did start off with an ice cream scoop and put the servings out individually on the parchment paper. Then I covered my hands in shortening and tried to make the balls and had some of the sticky candy stick to the palm of my hands and burn me. So if you are trying to do this, be very careful! The problem is you can not wait too long to make the balls because if they cool off too much they will not stick together.
Considering I have never made OR eaten these before, I think I did very well. They are SUPER sweet though, I don’t think my husband and I could have more than one but I can see the appeal to these traditional Halloween confections. I am glad that I gave this recipe and technique a shot. For those looking for a super easy and fast Halloween treat to make for a bunch of people, I can really recommend this recipe. For those with little ones in the kitchen, please be careful. This is definitely one for the adults to make!
When you make candy it is always dangerous but this recipe is, unlike most candy-making recipe, super easy and simple. You do not need a candy thermometer, you just need to melt everything and bring it to a boil. Just be careful when assembling those popcorn balls!
Have a Halloween treat you would like me to make and show you the technique? I am open to suggestions! Just leave a comment and I may give it a shot.