More than Caramel Corn Tradition

19 Comments
posted on October 28, 2011 by  |  posted under Desserts, Halloween, Recipes, Snacks

More than Caramel Corn Tradition

To me, Fall is a crisp morning with the smell of harvested corn still lingering from the field behind our house. It is rearranging my closet with sweaters and jeans at the forefront. And it is reliving the anticipation with my children of Halloween costumes and giant mounds of candy.

This year, a memory came wafting back to me from my childhood as I stood in line for caramel corn at a Fall festival. Each year for Halloween, my sweet Grandma measured, stirred, and lovingly molded sticky popcorn balls to wrap in plastic wrap and hand out to local trick-or-treaters.  She used her own recipe and, needless to say, was cleaned out in only a few hours. More special than the hand-crafted caramel corn balls, was the fact that she set aside a “special bowl” for her grandchildren. Inside each reserved popcorn ball was a surprise: a big ol’ shiny fifty cent piece wrapped in plastic wrap!

Of course, these were the days when homemade goodies were safe to give and receive, but I couldn’t help feeling like something was missing from our family’s current Halloween celebration. Brightly wrapped processed candies are a dime a dozen, but a homemade caramel corn ball, with a rare (in my child’s mind) coin inside, now that’s pretty special. To this day, I still have all of my Halloween coins!

So, I decided to try this tradition with my own kids, adding a few tweaks of my own. When the weather gets cold, it’s hard to find things to entertain the kiddos inside, but this is the PERFECT stay inside activity to keep them having a blast for, dare I say…hours?! It all starts with:

1) An air popcorn popper with the lid off, 2) popcorn kernels, and 3) a sheet. More than Caramel Corn Tradition
First build the anticipation of this cool activity by talking it up and getting excited WITH the kids. Then take the sheet, air popper (make sure the lid is OFF), and popcorn kernals to a place on the ground where you don’t mind making a mess. You can tell a story, do a tribal dance around the popper, whatever gets ‘em going, really. Then plug the popper in and let it do its magic! More than Caramel Corn Tradition

More than Caramel Corn Tradition

Next came our yummy caramel corn balls. Bring to JUST a boil: 1 cube of butter, 3/4 c. white Karo syrup, and 1 1/2 c. brown sugar. Don’t let it boil too long, or the caramel will be too hard. Next comes the SECRET ingredient: stir in 1/2 tsp. of coconut extract. I promise you, this really makes the recipe! Pour over popped corn and form balls.  More than Caramel Corn Tradition

Wrap your “prize” in plastic wrap and insert it into the center.

More than Caramel Corn Tradition

More than Caramel Corn Tradition

More than Caramel Corn Tradition

This tradition has made a big impact on my little girl self. Seeing the pure delight in my little girl’s and little boy’s eyes as they dove for flying popcorn kernels and each opened their “surprise” caramel corn ball, was concrete evidence that this tradition MUST CARRY ON! I hope to give my kids a Halloween that is a little less commercial and a lot more memorable.

Caramel Corn Popcorn Balls

Caramel Corn Popcorn Balls

Ingredients

  • Popcorn kernels
  • Caramel:
  • 1 cube of butter
  • 3/4 c. white Karo syrup
  • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. of coconut extract

Instructions

  1. Air pop the popcorn kernels
  2. Bring to JUST a boil the 1 cube of butter, 3/4 c. white Karo syrup, and 1 1/2 c. brown sugar.
  3. Don’t let it boil too long, or the caramel will be too hard.
  4. Add the coconut extract
  5. Pour over popped corn and form balls.
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More than Caramel Corn Tradition

19 Comments
COMMENTS
  1. October 28th, 2011 at 7:31 am
    Katherine says:
    I loved this post. I had a Grandma (she wasn't our grandma at all but my mom who is a nurse, while she was pregnant with me, took care of her husband and we adopted her as an extra grandma in our family) who made caramel corn in little wrapped packages for us every year on halloween. This post made me think of her packages for us more than I have in years. I haven't made caramel corn in years either but maybe I'll make some this year now :)
  2. October 28th, 2011 at 8:18 am
    Ashley says:
    What FUN! What a fantastic idea to just let the popcorn fly. I can just imagine little ones giggling as it pops all over the place.
  3. October 28th, 2011 at 8:23 am
    Bobbi says:
    My mom used to wrap money in tinfoil and stick it into pieces of birthday cake for icing it. Somehow I always ended up with the dollar coin when I was the birthday girl. I love the popcorn ball idea!! I'll have to try that out with my kids this year :)
  4. October 28th, 2011 at 8:44 am
    Shelley says:
    I love this memory of your grandma!! What a fun special surprise. Thanks for sharing. :) I'm going to head to the bank to get fifty cent pieces. :)
    • October 28th, 2011 at 9:03 am
      Shelley says:
      PS. Grandma Pixy (Pixton) used to make Caramel balls for us at Halloween too. {No fifty cent piece inside, but still a sweet memory of mine.} Thanks for reminding me of her. :)
  5. October 28th, 2011 at 9:01 am
    Kate says:
    Brilliant!! We are so doing this for FHE tonight.
  6. October 28th, 2011 at 9:47 am
    alysha says:
    Thank goodness for grandmother's. :) This is such a cute memory and fun tradition!! Thank you for sharing!
  7. October 28th, 2011 at 10:11 am
    Penny says:
    I LOVE this idea! I'll bet your kids were so excited to see the popcorn fly! I love the 'cones' you made for the popcorn balls too.
  8. October 28th, 2011 at 11:42 am
    Nickelle @ noVae Clothing says:
    LOVE Traditons & such a Simple one too! I might add a little (toy) in the center of mine... What a CUTE idea! xo Thanks for sharing!
  9. November 1st, 2011 at 8:07 pm
    Leslie Lewis says:
    What a wonderful memory and delicious looking recipe. I would love to try it. What is a cube of butter? Is it the same thing as a stick, or do you just cut a little cube off of the stick?
    • November 2nd, 2011 at 3:00 pm
      Nicolette says:
      Yes, a cube is the same as a stick, and the recipe is for 1/2 cup of butter:)
  10. November 2nd, 2011 at 10:39 am
    Nadya says:
    How much popcorn do you use for the caramel? I too love traditions, and this is a great one! We'll have to try it next year.
    • November 2nd, 2011 at 3:03 pm
      Nicolette says:
      Who says it needs to be for Halloween?! You could do it anytime you want, really. I used a full batch of air-popped popcorn which equates to 1/2 cup of popcorn kernals. Depending on how sticky you like it, you could use less or more. I usually start with about 3/4 of the batch and then add more popcorn to get the consistency I want. Hope this helps!
  11. November 28th, 2011 at 10:27 am
    Debora says:
    would look cute to do this and put in mason jars with some of that cute twin wrapped around it. NEAT IDEA
  12. November 28th, 2011 at 10:50 am
    katie epstein says:
    I SOOO want to make this and was meaning to comment before...but now with the Twinery give away I need every chance I can get!!!! Pick MEEEEEEE!!!!! PLEASEEEEEEEEE! Hee hee
  13. November 28th, 2011 at 1:50 pm
    Sasha Farnsworth says:
    What a cute idea! My girls would love to do this!
  14. November 30th, 2011 at 2:02 pm
    Lara Jane says:
    Sounds delicious! Can't wait to try it.
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