Monday, October 25, 2010

Carmel Popcorn Balls

God bless you parents who give my children toys that shoot white light Lazar beams and make "Rap Like" sound effects that my Son woke me up early this morning by standing over me in my bed and shooting me in the face with the debilitating arey of lights that I now see clearly every time i close my eyes. God Bless you!!!  EVEY LAST ONE OF YOU! 

Hence, I was up early thinking about what to write on to ring in the Halloween week of goodies, costumes, and over excited children.  My thought took me back to my own child hood of trick or treating through the 1970's California neighborhoods.  I remember hitting block after block of houses of friends from school and friends of my parents.  It seemed like hundreds of houses.  It was a different time back then when we kids ran in mobs without parent supervision.  Our main goal was to get as much candy as humanly possible.  Back then candy was different.  Many people made homemade candy like popcorn balls, Carmel and Candy apples, Cinnamon sticks, Cotton candy, and many more.  I think about the time I began to hit my teens my parents would warn us not to open any home made candy since there was rumors of kids biting into razor blades.  Sad but true fact that things weren't going to always be what I new them to be when I was a child.

Now days things are different for the little munchkins.  Main Street trick or treating being a popular event when you take your children to the downtown shopping area and the business open there doors for the little guys to give them free treats and toys.  Fall Harvest carnivals that some churches put on being yet another popular option for your children to have some fun.  I don't recall those things going on during my childhood.  Not to say they didn't, but they were not as popular as they are this day in age. 

So as I walk around main street seeing all the crazy outfits and the haggard parents trying to keep up with there children all the while hearing yells from behind me and in front of me "Stewy!  SLOW DOWN!"  "Becky,  you forgot your SHOES!!"  "Levi,  DON'T hit your sister with your lightsabor!" I enjoy the memories of my children creating there own.  I enjoy the moment were my daughter sees things in the Innocent view that I know in time she will Cherish as much as I do now as an adult.  

Carmel Popcorn Balls

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch cream of tartar
1/2 (10-ounce) package marshmallows, about 4 cups
10 cups hot, salted popcorn, uncooked kernels removed

In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, corn syrup, butter, and cream of tartar
*The cream of tartar keeps the sugar from crystallizing*

The Carmeling process:
Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar.

When the sugar syrup reaches a boil, stop stirring and swirl the pan around over the heat so it doesn't burn. As the syrup reaches the caramel stage, (245 to 250 F) the bubbles on top will become smaller, thicker, and closer together. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until the caramel coats the back of the spoon. ( stick a candy thermometer in the pot and cook until the syrup reaches the soft crack stage, about 270 F. 

When you drop a bit of this syrup into cold water, it will solidify into threads that, when removed, are hard yet bendable.

Moveing on:
Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the marshmallows. Fold the marshmallows into the hot caramel so they all melt into a caramel sauce.

TIP:The caramel will coat better if the popcorn is hot, so make it while boiling the sugar.

Put the popcorn in a big bowl and pour the caramel marshmallow mixture over the popcorn. Gently fold with a wooden spoon to coat each kernel. Grab handfuls of the popcorn and squeeze it together to form popcorn balls; make them about the size of a tennis ball. Put the popcorn balls on a sheet pan lined with waxed paper to cool completely.

I often make home made candies to give out, but keep in mind i only give to my Sister's kids and close personal friends.  Never people I don't know, so the poor parents don't have to stress over the unknown person giving there children candy.  Have a fun week people!  Enjoy your children and enjoy the candy!



Hélène said...

Is this the way you make them here in Lander, or do you make adjustments for the altitude? Last time I made candy here I forgot about the altitude and it didn't turn out.

§~John~§ said...

Helene: I do make it this way. When I started playing with this years ago I think I started with 3/4 cup of water. After reducing the liquid amounts, Slow and steady seems to always work best, avoiding trying to bring things up to temp to fast. Best of luck this year to you.