Popcorn balls have always been a part of Halloween around these parts.
I've only made the boiled sugar version once - and they were very tasty, don't get me wrong - but this version is soooooo much easier!
This is basically like making a Rice Krispie square but with popcorn instead.
Be prepared for some ooey gooey deliciousness!
Chocolate & Caramel Covered Popcorn Balls
3 bags of microwave popcorn (about 12 cups popped)
1/4 cup butter
1 small bag mini marshmallows (about 4 cups)
1 tsp vanilla
2 bag caramels (about 200)
8 Tbsp cream
2 bag chocolate chips (about 4 cups)
Chopped Salted peanuts (about 1 cup)
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper/wax paper/or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium/low heat, melt the butter and mini marshmallows with the vanilla, stirring until smooth.
Remove from heat and drizzle over the popped popcorn, stirring to coat well.
Spray your hands with cooking spray - or coat them lightly with butter - and scoop out about 1 cup of the popcorn mixture with your hands. Roll into a ball and place on prepared cookie sheet. If you are using sticks then insert a stick now, pressing the ball firmly around the stick.
Place in fridge to chill until firm, about 30 minutes or so.
When firm - in a saucepan over medium heat, melt the caramels with the cream until smooth.
Remove from heat and dip the balls into the caramel, rolling to coat all over and then lightly shaking to remove excess caramel. Place back on cookie sheet.
Chill until firm again, about another 30 minutes or so.
If you don't have enough caramel to coat all the balls you can just drizzle some over the remaining balls.
When they are firm, in a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly, until smooth.
Dip the balls into the chocolate to coat entirely (be sure to gently shake off any excess) OR you can just dip half way for a different look.
While chocolate is still a bit sticky, roll the popcorn ball in the chopped nuts.
Optionally - if you don't have enough chocolate to coat all the balls you can just drizzle it over them too.
You can sprinkle the peanuts over the balls if you you don't have enough to roll them in.
Let chill until firm.
I noticed these are better when they sit in the fridge and then remove them to serve about half hour before eating them so they can warm up a bit. I found when they sit out at room temp for long periods the caramel and chocolate tend to pool a bit at the bottom of the ball.
This isn't too big of a deal - it just means they don't look quite as pretty. (P.S. - this makes 12 balls!)
Overall, a teeny bit fussy to make, but they sure do look impressive on the treat table at Halloween (or anytime for that matter) and they taste AMAZING!!
So crunchy and chewy!