There's always at least one popcorn ball in every trick or treater's bag. These treats are always a plus and rank right up there with candy cigarettes (see yesterday's blog). They're not only fun to eat but also a fun favor at any Halloween party.
Popcorn balls have been around for about 140 years. They were the number one confection throughout the late 19th and early 20ieth Centuries. People either made them with molasses or bought them from the many popcorn vendors that strolled through America's cities. Sometimes flaked coconut and almonds were added for extra flavor and crunch. The largest popcorn ball was made a century later in 1996. 2000 pounds of corn went into making it.
Popcorn balls are one of the easiest candies to make. You can take your own home popped or store bought kernels, mix them with marshmallow and butter for an easy method or go the more traditional route of cooking molasses corn syrup, vanilla and butter together. I found a cool one on www.popcorn.org. and a more traditional one at
Here they are:
10 cups popped corn
1 (1-lb.) bag miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup diced dried fruit (papaya, mango or peaches)
1 cup butterscotch chips
Orange food coloring
Place popcorn, fruit and butterscotch chips in large bowl; set aside.
Heat marshmallows and butter in a large saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Stir in several drops of food coloring. Pour over popcorn and candy, tossing to coat evenly. Cool 5 minutes.
Grease hands and form into 3-inch balls.
Yield: About 16 balls
(Based on 1 serving)
Total Calories 250; Total Fat 8g; Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 60mg; Carbohydrate 43g; Fiber 1g; Sugars 31g; Protein 2g
You can omit the fruit if you want or substitute coconut or even chocolate chips.
More traditional popcorn balls
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light molasses
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla
4 or 5 qt. popped corn (unsalted)
Mix sugar, molasses, syrup, water and salt in 3-quart pan. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until it boils. Boil gently until small amount dropped in cold water forms hard ball (about 260 degrees).
Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla. Stir thoroughly. Pour evenly over popped corn and mix well with wooden spoon.
Form quickly into balls with buttered hands.
Like I said the above recipe is not that difficult but boiling sugar to the hard ball stage can be intimidating to some and it’s certainly dangerous for kiddies.