Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Popcorn Balls

Stove top popcorn
For the last week of camp I decided to have fun with the campers and piggyback onto the Carnival Day that was being held on that Thursday.  We made popcorn balls which I had never made before, but I will most definitely be making again!

We started out with making popcorn on the stove, which is the only way I make it.  If I had an air popper I would use it.  But I do not eat microwave popcorn. In my opinion, if you are eating popcorn there should only be ingredients that you can read and pronounce:  oil, popcorn kernels, butter and salt. Back to the recipe... We made the popcorn and did not salt or butter it.
Kernels and canola oil before the lid went on.

For the sauce that allows you to make the popcorn into balls:
Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a large pan.

Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and a 10 oz bag of mini marshmallows.  Interesting note about the mini versus regular sized marshmallows is that the mini melted faster and more evenly.  But the regular sized got more caramel-y because they had to cook longer.  I kind of preferred the larger ones for that reason but it was hard to balance the melting and not burning it.  

Stir constantly over medium heat until it is all melted.  Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan because that is where it will start to caramelize and eventually burn.  I started off the week having the campers stir this, but their last week giddyness was making me nervous so I put an end to that.  If you are doing it with your children, just make sure they are safe because sticky and boiling is not a good combination if it gets on skin.  

Pour the goodness over the popcorn.  I transferred the popcorn to a different bowl so that I could try to keep as many unpopped kernels from going in as possible.  Also, a plastic bowl is a better choice than a metal one, just saying.  Not that I burned myself on the metal bowl that was filled with molten marshmallows or anything.

It tastes as amazing as it looks.

At this point you butter your hands and get to work very quickly and carefully forming balls.  For the campers, I put a large spoonful in front of them on a clean table top and had them wait a minute or so before touching it.  I experimented with packing them tightly or keeping them looser.  I enjoyed them a little looser because it made it a little easier to bite into.  I have no pictures of the balls because my hands were a sticky mess.  The campers had a blast making and eating them.  All different shapes were made: hearts, flowers, squares.

I can definitely see myself experimenting with add-ins, like pecans in the near future.  I was even thinking I could break it into clumps and let it cool on a silpat.  That would be a fun gift if you put it in decorative bags or tins.  My first plan?  Make them small and dip them into melted dark chocolate.

No comments:

Post a Comment