September 3, 2012

Lemon Pie Popcorn Balls

The other day my sister emailed this recipe to me.  Her subject line was: "Make these for me, Thanks!"
For as long as I can remember, my sister has been hooked on Lemonheads. She always has them around,  in her purse, her car, her desk, her night stand, her kitchen...you get the idea.
 
Although I don't really understand her love affair with them, I did get a kick out this recipe, so I decided to give it a try!
The recipe is very similar to my own popcorn balls, Soft and Chewy Popcorn Balls, so I knew this one wouldn't give me any problems, kind of a no brainer...I liked that.

The popcorn balls really reminded me of a lemon creme pie in flavor, so that's the name I've chosen for them!
 LEMON PIE POPCORN BALLS
6 Tbsp. butter 
(no substitution)*
2 c. miniature marshmallows
2/3 c. lemonheads candies
(or 2 small boxes)
8-10 c. popped popcorn

In a medium size sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat. Drop in the marshmallows, stir, and when they start to melt, add the lemonheads. Bring the mix to a boil, Stirring constantly until lemonheads have melted.  This took longer than I expected, about 10 minutes.  As they soften, you can crush them with the back of a spoon or with the tines of a fork, and that will help the melting process speed up. 
Once the lemonheads have melted, immediately pour over the popped corn, stir well to coat, and form into small popcorn balls.  Be sure to keep a small glass of cool water next to you. Dip your hands into the water whenever the popcorn starts to stick to you, or if the popcorn is hot to handle.
This recipe made 10 balls that were about the size of a tangerine or small orange.
After a few minutes of setting time, the balls became crisp and chewy.  Store them in a container or in individual sandwich bags.

*Note:  The reason I recommend that you not substitute the butter, is due to the high water content found in margarine and spreads.  They make the popcorn soggy, and the balls won't set up.

A few recommendations from a self proclaimed popcorn expert.  Don't use microwave popcorn (the kind with no butter).  Also, air popped corn doesn't hold up as well to hot syrups, and will become "mushy" in texture.
Use a popcorn popper.  My absolute favorite small appliance in my house.  I've worn out so many over the years that I've lost count (I eat a lot of popcorn).
I have a Stir Crazy popper, and you can find them at Target, Walmart, etc...usually under $30.00, and sooo worth the $!
 And use good quality popcorn kernels. I swear by Orville Redenbacher, and trust me, I've probably tried every brand out there. 
(These recommendations are strictly my own, and not ads for the products)


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