This spellbinding snack started with a popcorn ball recipe from Roberta Holiday of Fort Worth, Texas. The materials needed to make it are simple—just popcorn, candies, pretzels and other easy-to-find supplies.
- large roasting pan
- heavy saucepan
- candy thermometer
- 15-inch-square covered board
- 5 quarts popped popcorn
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup corn syrup
- green liquid food coloring
- 11 pieces of candy corn
- 2 pretzel sticks
- 2 pieces of purple cellophane or plastic wrap—one 15 x 12 inches and one 6-inch square
- 2 pieces of red shoestring licorice—one 24 inches and one 12 inches
- one 10-inch wooden skewer
- 7 pieces of black rope licorice—8 inches each
- 1 ice cream sugar cone
- 2 tablespoons vanilla frosting
- 2 brown M&M's
- 1 pretzel rod
- 1/4 cup potato sticks
- 1/2 cup chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
- standard kitchen utensils
Place popcorn in a large roasting pan and keep warm in a 200° oven.
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugars, water and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 235° (soft-ball stage). Remove from the heat and add the green liquid food coloring. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and stir to coat evenly. Cool for 10 minutes.
Forming the Feet: With hands dipped in cold water, shape 2 cups of popcorn into a 6-inch heart about 1/2 inch thick on a covered board. For toes, insert 10 pieces of candy corn around rounded edges of heart.
Forming the Body: Firmly shape 5 cups of popcorn into a 6- x 3-inch cylinder for the body. Center over the feet.
For the arms, firmly cover half of each pretzel stick with 1/2 cup of popcorn. Insert uncovered ends of the pretzel sticks into the popcorn body.
For the Dress: Center the 15- x 12-inch cellophane piece over body. Gather at waist and tie with the 24-inch piece of red licorice.
Forming the Head: Firmly shape 2 cups of popcorn into a 3-1/2-inch ball. Add a few more pieces to form a pointed chin. Attach head by carefully inserting skewer through top of head into body and base. With some of vanilla frosting, attach the brown M&Ms for eyes and the remaining piece of candy corn for the nose.
For the Hair: Cut the black licorice into 1/8-inch strips to within 1/2 inch of one end. Attach uncut ends to the sides and back of head with toothpicks.
For the Hat: With a sharp serrated knife, carefully cut sugar cone 3 inches from pointed end. Cover the 3-inch pointed end of cone with the cellophane square. Tie the 12-inch piece of red licorice around cone bottom to secure; place hat on head.
For the Broom: Spread the remaining frosting on 1-1/2 inches of one end of the pretzel rod. Attach the potato sticks for the straw of the broom. Lean the broom against the witch.
If there is any popcorn remaining, shape into 1-1/2-inch balls; cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Sprinkle the chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs on the covered board for the dirt. Arrange reserved popcorn balls around the witch or place them in a serving bowl next to the covered board.
Yield: 14-16 servings (1 witch and 4-6 popcorn balls).
Editor's Note: We recommend you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.
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