I love popcorn. Buttery movie theater popcorn or at-home, stovetop kettle corn -- I am here for it. We have posted a few of our favorite popcorn snack mixes on the blog, but we really wanted to create something special for the holidays. Enter: popcorn balls.
I feel like you either grew up making popcorn balls or you just didn’t. I am the latter. I attribute popcorn balls with either commercially made, break-your-teeth Halloween treats, or little old grandmas who are making them for Christmas, and later will be making sweaters for all the grandkids to open on Christmas day. Either way, they just missed my radar and for this I must apologize to all my fellow popcorn lovers out there because ya’ll -- these are SO DANG GOOD!
Marshmallow popcorn balls are like a crunchy salty snack meets a crispy treat. Here, the Salted Caramel Marshmallows enhance the caramel notes of the brown sugar, and give them a bit of a softer ooey gooey texture. Making them was super easy and pretty quick! I loved the look of adding a little Rolo candy to the top of my popcorn balls so they look like little ornaments.
This recipe yields 12 larger popcorn balls or 20 small popcorn balls
- 12 cups popped popcorn (about ⅔ cup kernels)
- ½ cup salted butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup corn syrup or honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups Salted Caramel XO Marshmallows (about 16 marshmallows/2 boxes)
- 14 Rolos candy
- Optional: fun sprinkles, chocolate chips, or food coloring
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Set aside.
- Place popped popcorn in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a large 3-quart pot, add butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Turn heat to low and continue cooking for about 4 minutes, swirling the pot occasionally.
- Remove from heat. Add vanilla and add salted caramel marshmallows. Stir until all marshmallows are melted -- be careful because mixture will be extremely hot! If using, add a couple of drops of food coloring into your mix.
- Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn and, using a wooden spoon, stir until all popcorn is coated. Then, mix in your optional add-ins (sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc).
- As soon as the mix is able to be handled, form popcorn into balls and set on baking sheet. Use any remaining marshmallow mixture from the bowl as “glue” and attach the Rolos candy to the tops of the completed popcorn balls. Repeat until all the popcorn mixture is used.
- Let the popcorn balls rest at room temperature until cool (about an hour). Then move them into an airtight container or into individual treat bags.
You could easily swap in another flavor of marshmallow -- Bourbon marshmallows would work well for a holiday cocktail party, or Cookies and Cream marshmallows with a crushed chocolate sandwich cookies could represent “lumps of coal” for your naughty family members.
Once made and wrapped in a treat bag, these treats make great edible escort cards, or gifts for teachers as well. Popcorn Balls are best consumed within 48 hours but can last a few days if kept in an airtight container. After that, they will get a bit soft/chewy.