Sunday, October 10, 2010

Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

One of my favorite treats to make all year or at Christmas is Popcorn balls. My kids love them, my neighbors loved them and I love them. It’s one of the treats I send to my boys around the holidays, easy to package, and they don’t get broken in the shipping. 

They're fun and easy to make with the kids and taste great with a rich sweet & salty creamy Carmel texture. This recipe was taught to me by one of my oldest and dearest friends Patty. It was a treat that she learned from her family and made when we were growing up. It was one of my favorites that have stuck with me all these years. 

I can still remember standing in her kitchen at the kitchen table making these with her younger sisters. We didn’t air pop back then; we popped the corn the old fashioned way on the stove. Sometimes we’d cheat by getting the Jiffy Pop, but there’s nothing better than homemade buttered popcorn perfectly salted. 

I thank and tribute this recipe to my oldest friend. It holds many fond memories imprinted on my heart.
Thank you ~  Thank you ~ Thank you ~

Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

2 & ½ stick of butter (Yes, I know it’s a lot but it’s so good.)I prefer Land O Lakes reg.
1 bag of miniature marshmallows. You can use the large ones, I just prefer the miniatures, they melt quicker.
Popped corn about 20 cups… or how many it takes to fill a roaster or large bowl.
I use Orville Redenbacher's Original Gourmet Popping Corn

Before I start I get my roaster pan ready by spraying it with a non-stick spray so melted marshmallows won’t stick to your pan. I also spray a wooden spoon for mixing; it helps keep the marshmallows from building up, and makes clean up a lot easier.

Fill a Large roaster pan with fresh popped Popcorn. I air pop my popcorn using Orville's , and then pour melted Land O Lakes regular butter ½ stick over the popped popcorn, season with salt to taste. Set aside. Just like if you’re going to sit down and enjoy it with a good movie.

In a large fry pan I melt one sick of butter (½ Cup) once melted, add a bag of miniature marshmallows and melt, stirring constantly.

Once melted, pour over pan of popped popcorn. Gently mix together coating as much of the popcorn as possible. Once completely coated, let it sit for a minute or two while you get everything else ready.Put a large sheet of waxed paper on a table or counter where you’ll let your popcorn balls rest and cool.

Put ½ stick of butter on a small plate. Butter your hands up good right before you dig in. Make sure your popcorn mixture has cooled down enough to handle. Melted marshmallow tends to stay warm for a while, the key is to start the minute you can tolerate the heat of the melted marshmallow's, careful not to burn your hands. It's a perfect time to take a taste… you don’t want it to cool completely, or you won’t be able to make them into the balls. If you prefer, you can dump the entire pan out onto waxed paper, and just kind of flatten it out a bit… let it cool and break into bite size pieces… this works well to.

Now start taking a scoop of coated popcorn and form a ball. Removing any unpopped kernels as you go. You’ll thank me later. It will be very gooey and stick to everything. Butter is your friend like to make large meatball sized balls. Their easier to eat, but whatever size you choose is the correct size. You’ll have to keep your hands well lubed with butter, I normally re butter before I make each ball...Make sure you press the popcorn firmly into a nicely formed ball or they will fall apart while cooling. Place ball on waxed paper, let cool completely. You can store balls in both the refrigerator or the freezer in a large zip lock bag or air tight container. I like to keep them frozen and take one at a time out. It only takes minutes before its thawed enough to eat.

Repeat the process until you’ve used up all the popped corn. Buttering your hands each time between balls. Like Paula Dean always say’s, “You can never have enough butter”.
 I hope you've enjoyed this recipe as much as I have. I'm sure it will become a  family favorites for years to come. I'll see you next time with Blueberry Banana Pancakes, made with my homemade Banana topping.

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