(Red Hots) Popcorn Balls

How to make pop corn ballsI love colored popcorn. Elsie brought back some caramel apple (green with a few brown) popcorn from Chicago a few weeks ago, and it reminded me how much I love colored popcorn. When Elsie and I were little, our family doctor's office was located next to (or maybe it was a few doors down) a gourmet popcorn shop. Sometimes, as a special treat, our mom would buy us flavored popcorn after a doctor's visit. I was the kind of kid who was obsessed with sugary treats, so I was always hoping for a trip to the popcorn shop after a doctor's visit. Anyway, I had plans to make popcorn balls before Halloween this year (you gotta!), and I decided to try something flavored/colored. These were made with Red Hots (cinnamon hard candy), so not only were they a pretty color, but they tasted like cinnamon too!
Popcorn ballsRed Hots Popcorn Balls, makes about a dozen or so.

Needed: 3/4 cup light corn syrup, 1/4 cup butter, 2 teaspoons water, a large handful of Red Hots candy, 1 cup marshmallow cream (or you can use marshmallows, I just happened to have some cream I was needing to use), 1 cup powered sugar and 3/4 cup unpopped popcorn.

First pop the popcorn and set aside. In a pot stir together the corn syrup, butter, water, Red Hots, and marshmallow cream over low/medium heat until the Red Hots have nearly dissolved. Then stir in the powered sugar. Turn the heat up the medium/high and cook until the mixture just about reaches 240°F (this is also sometimes called the "soft ball" stage). Remove from heat and immediately pour over the popcorn in a large bowl and stir so the mixture coats most pieces of popcorn. Coat your hands in a little oil and (WHEN THE MIXTURE IS COOL ENOUGH TO HANDLE) form into balls and set on wax paper.Red hot popcorn ballsYou do need to work quickly once the popcorn is cool enough to handle. Now you can wrap these in plastic wrap to gift to kiddos or leave them out on the counter to snack on during a holiday party. Keep in mind you can use any kind of hard candy (in place of Red Hots). I think Lemon Drop popcorn balls would be really fun, or Werther's caramels. Use whatever flavors you prefer and have fun making popcorn balls this season! xo. Emma

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