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January 19, 2012

Soft and Chewy Popcorn Balls

A friend of mine (Katie Larsen-you need to check out her adorable blog, and the awesome stuff she sells) pointed out that today (January 19th), is National Popcorn Day!  I am a huge fan of popcorn.  I mean a serious fan.  It's often what I eat for dinner.  Love it.
So, in celebration of this very important day (and I can't believe I didn't already know about this), I immediately went to my kitchen and made my favorite popcorn ball recipe!
I have been making these popcorn balls for YEARS. I don't even know where I got the original recipe, I just know that they are a big hit everywhere I take them, and my own family will devour the entire recipe in a day.

Try these! They're simple and fast, but you will be become addicted, I promise!

Sweet, Salty, & Chewy Popcorn Balls

1 c. sugar
1 c. butter (no substitutions)
1/2 c. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

5-6 quarts popped corn
2 c. miniature marshmallows
1 c. cocktail peanuts (optional)

Pop your corn with whatever type of popper you use (I swear by my Stir Crazy Popper-I can't live without it-best popper ever), and place the popped corn in a large mixing bowl, and I do mean large.  I use the giant 32 cup Tupperware serving bowl...
Pour the 2 cups mini marshmallows and the 1 cup peanuts over the top of the popcorn.

In a large sauce pan, mix together the sugar, butter, and corn syrup.  Heat until the butter is melted and then bring to a full boil.  Continue boiling for 3 minutes. If your syrup cools for longer it will become tough to chew as it cools.  Less time will cause the syrup to not hold the balls together well. 
Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Pour the syrup over the popcorn mix and stir everything together very well, until all of the popcorn is coated.
Note:  the marshmallows will melt and add to the gooey goodness of the mix.

Lightly wet your hands with cool water and form the popcorn into balls, like you would a snowball, you may want to re-wet your hands a few times to keep the popcorn from sticking to them. 
Place the balls on waxed paper and allow to cool for around 30 mins.  That's it!

I place each ball into a fold top sandwich baggie to keep fresh longer.

~These can easily be colored by adding a liquid food color at the same time as the vanilla extract.
~Don't substitute the butter for any other spread.  Margarine and other subs have a higher water content and that will cause the popcorn to become soggy and the balls won't hold together.  Believe me, I know from experience-lol.
~The peanuts are totally optional and I love them, but my family doesn't, so I only get to have them once in a while (as you can see by my pictures, I left the nuts out).

I hope you love these as much as I do, and happy popping!

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Anonymous said...

Yum! Thanks for the recipe!

Karebear said...

Would these keep for about a week wrapped well in plastic wrap and then sealed in a plastic lidded container? I need to figure out a way to make 200+ popcorn balls in advance for an event and have them still be fresh and tasty.

Karebear said...

Will these keep ok for about a week wrapped in plastic wrap and then stored in a sealed plastic container? I need to make 200+ popcorn balls for an event in advance and still be fresh and tasty. Any input is appreciated. Thanks you.

Unknown said...

@karabear, unfortunately these are best eaten a couple of days. After that, they become crispy.

LanceRuth said...

Will they still be chewy if you make them without the mini marshmallows? I’m desperately trying to find a chewy popcorn ball recipe but live in southern China – no mini marshmallows here!

Unknown said...

@lanceruth, they will be! It is the amount of cooking time that influences the softness.

LanceRuth said...