Everybody has a weakness. First there was Achilles and his heel. Then came Superman and kryptonite. Now it's Monique and popcorn balls. Who knew??
A few weeks ago I asked Facebook fans what type of childhood snack they would like to see recreated. There were some great answers (many of the Fat and Happy viewers had impressive childhoods!) but the one that caught my eye was a boozy popcorn ball. At that moment I knew this would be my Halloween post.
Popcorn ball recipes are abundant but there's no real secret to them, just caramel and popcorn. I have an absolutely foolproof soft caramel that I use for drippy caramel needs. And I've created one for Chocolate Bacon Caramel Popcorn; it is the sticky ball portion that eludes me.
My first pumpkin batch curdled and was too wet to stick together. It was tasty though so I figured I was on to something. The next rum batch seized up - essentially 1/2 cup of rum makes the caramel too drunk to spread among all the popcorn. Between candy thermometers, hard and soft ball stage, and handling hot molten lava... it's complicated.
Here's where it gets simple - a classic marshmallow mixture fills in for the troublesome caramel sauce. Turns out marshmallows are liquor friendly...and rather sticky to boot!
The result is one gooey pumpkin flavor popcorn ball and one faint-rum undertone sticky snack mix. Either would be great for your Halloween party, just serve them with napkins.
The moral of this story is that with a few fat and happy modifications, you can ultimately get around your weakness. Or the moral might be that booze doesn't actually go with everything, but I'm not ready to admit that yet.
Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: Placing the popcorn balls in the fridge for a bit helps them to set up better, unless you want that gooey rice-krispie-kinda-of-effect (it's a good thing!)