If screaming-hot popcorn kernels, catapulted from the eerie bowels of an air popper, are just the thrill you need this Halloween, mosey on up to the Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks kitchen for an extra-special treat. Ghosts are haunting this joint, and they’ve spun themselves into marshmallow-sugar balls to terrify your insides. But don’t worry, they’re more afraid of you than you are of them, since you have teeth and a boiling, roiling digestive system.
To make these popcorn treats, I followed the recipe from ihearteating.com: Easy Popcorn Balls Recipe. Most recipes call for a candy thermometer and a little bit of patience. I’m running a little low on both, so I opted for an easier version, which is kind of like Rice Krispies treats, but with popcorn. Basically, all I had to do was drag the air popper out of the pantry, pour ½ cup of popcorn kernels into the machine, pick out the hot kernels, and blend the rest that actually popped with melted butter and marshmallows + a teensy bit of vanilla extract.
Results: There was more marshmallow-to-popcorn ratio, so the balls didn’t really hold together too well. However, I did press some candied eyeball pieces into the treats, so I think that made the entire experiment worthwhile—and aesthetically on point. The amorphous balls looked kind of deranged and scary, but kind of fun, too—like you’d want to test out pumpkin displays together, to see if they’re real, and then scream “run” and laugh while escaping security. And then, to celebrate, you’d just tear off a hunk of your popcorn friend and say something like, “You’re a great pal! Let’s do this again next week,” while your pal loses consciousness and melts into a sticky, opaque blob.
This recipe, though, does not quite do an original caramel popcorn ball recipe justice. My mom used to make caramel popcorn balls that were messy and that didn’t always come together, but somehow, digging through the melted caramel and just eating bits of popcorn and sugary soup was so satisfying. In fact, my sister made some popcorn balls recently and posted them to social media—and hers looked like they stayed together really well. Perhaps she made the candy thermometer type. I don’t know. All I know is this: the easy, marshmallow version is still super fun. And you can’t go wrong with just a touch of vanilla extract. Simply shield your eyes (and the cat) from the flaming hot kernel projectiles. Reach inside the sticky mess and make a creation that has a life of its own—but not for too long. Don’t let it live for too long.
In Other News: I have a few more stories out this Halloween:
—“Megalodon Parenting Method,” (pages 172-174) of The Hallowzine.
—“Forbidden Playthings” (which starts on page 19) of SirensCall Ezine–issue 55 Halloween 2021.
–“Soul Grinder” in the anthology: Don’t Break the Oath, Kandisha Press.
Also: I GOT A FULL-TIME JOB!!! I will be a copywriter for Funko Headquarters in Everett, WA. It’s definitely a dream job, and I will be super busy, but I still plan on keeping this blog alive. Cheers!
Your Turn: What’s a messy treat you love to make?