Fall means hay rides, fuzzy sweaters, mugs of warm drinks and pumpkin carving, but one must-have that can get overlooked is the classic popcorn ball. And, really, that's too bad: no festivity is complete without offering up this simple treat that's beloved by kids and adults alike. Take all of 30 minutes to recreate this recipe — the delectable caramel coating is nothing but a few ingredients over a flame — and then serve up the salty-sweet dessert in miniature balls. You'll have an addictive pop-in-your-mouth confection that will surely become an autumn mainstay.
Things You'll Need
- 8-10 cups plain popcorn
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts
Step 1: Make Caramel Popcorn
First, spread the popcorn out evenly on a baking sheet.
8 to 10 cups of popcorn is approximately a half cup of un-popped popcorn, or about 1 bag of microwave popcorn.
Step 2: Add Peanuts to the Bowl
Sprinkle the peanuts over the top of the popcorn.
Step 3: Make the Caramel Coating
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Then, pour in the brown sugar and stir until it's incorporated. Next, raise the heat and bring the sugar and butter to a boil. Add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Let the mixture boil lightly for 2 to 3 minutes, and then remove it from the heat. Carefully pour the caramel coating over the top of the popcorn and peanuts. Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, gently stir the popcorn on the sheet pan to get all of it coated evenly.
Step 4: Make the Popcorn Balls
Rub your hands with butter (to prevent sticking) and form a small handful of the caramel corn into a ball. You may need to give it a good squeeze to ensure the popcorn ball holds its shape. Place the popcorn balls on a baking sheet. The recipe makes approximately 30 mini popcorn balls. Store them in an airtight container until ready to serve.