Kids will have a ball with this Halloween favorite from trick-or-treats past. The cute candy faces add whimsy to the crispy, crunchy snack. -Melissa Hayes, Hundred, West Virginia
- 4 quarts popped popcorn
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Yellow and red food coloring
- 2 to 3 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 ounces each)
- 1/4 cup vanilla frosting
- 8 candy spearmint leaves
- Place popcorn in a roasting pan; keep warm in a 200° oven.
- In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar and salt. Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 250° (hard-ball stage).
- Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla and food coloring (about 1 teaspoon yellow and 9 drops red) until blended. Immediately pour over popcorn and stir until coated. When mixture is cool enough to handle, quickly shape into 3-1/2-in. balls, dipping hands in cold water to prevent sticking.
- Cut triangles and rectangles from candy bars for pumpkin eyes, noses and mouths. In a small bowl, combine the frosting with 5 drops of yellow and 3 drops of red food coloring; attach facial features with frosting. Attach a spearmint leaf to the top of each. Yield: 8 servings.
Originally published as Jack-o'-Lantern Popcorn Balls in Taste of Home October/November 2009, p78
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