Christmas Popcorn and Candy Balls
20 cups popped popcorn
1-1/2 cups lighted-colored corn syrup
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 7-ounce marshmallow creme
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups candy-coated milk chocolate pieces or candy-coated peanut butter-flavored pieces
Remove all up popped kernels from popped popcorn. Place popcorn in a buttered 17x12x2-inch baking pan or roasting pan. Keep popcorn warm in a 300 degree oven while preparing marshmallow mixture.
In a large saucepan bring corn syrup and sugar to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallow creme, butter, and vanilla until combined.
Pour marshmallow mixture over hot popcorn; stir gently to coat. Cool until popcorn mixture can be handled easily. Stir in candies. With damp hands, quickly shape mixture in 3-inch diameter balls. Wrap each popcorn ball in plastic wrap. Store at room temperature up to 1 week. Makes 24 popcorn balls.
Popcorn cake: turn popcorn mixture into a buttered 10-inch tube pan. Press gently into pan with spatula or damp hands. Let stand about 30 minutes; remove and slice like cake.
*if you wish, add a few drops of food coloring to the marshmallow mixture to further imbue these treats with seasonal hues.*
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