If you can resist eating these sweet-but-not-too-sweet, popcorn-ball Halloween treats the moment you’re finished making them, they’ll make great party favors. Well, you can always whip up a second batch in no time!
Thankfully, these festive treats are as easy and affordable to make as they are tasty. And they are surprisingly tasty, but I’ve already warned you …
A few tips:
1. Buy your own popcorn kernels to pop – you’ll be surprised how simple it is. And you can choose your own oil (I used coconut) and seasoning (I went with Himalayan crystal salt), making it an even healthier treat. I’m thinking I might never buy microwave or bagged popcorn again …
2. When making the orange syrup, be sure to stir the mixture continuously or the sugars will burn on the bottom of the pan. It’s much like making the marshmallow mixture for rice krispy treats.
3. Kids can help make these, but because the orange syrup is so hot, I recommend forming the popcorn into pumpkins yourself.
4. You can make orange popcorn jack-o-lanterns by adding chocolate-chip eyes, noses, and mouths.
5. Try not to eat all the pumpkins before the party.
Once the pumpkins have completely cooled, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store them in a sealed plastic container for up to one week.
With all the gelatin flavors out there, the holiday ideas for this recipe are endless: grape for popcorn-ball witches’ hats, lime for popcorn-ball holiday trees, cherry for popcorn-ball Valentine’s hearts, etc.
- 3 Tbsp. coconut (or your preferred type) oil
- ¼ cup popcorn kernels
- Himalayan or sea salt, to taste
- 3 Tbsp. nonhydrogenated shortening
- 3 Tbsp. agave nectar
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 4 marshmallows
- 1 (3-oz.) box orange flavored gelatin product
- 2 pieces chocolate licorice, each cut into 1-inch “stems” for the pumpkins
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or just lightly oil).
- Place the coconut oil in a saucepan with one popcorn kernel. Cover and heat over medium heat until the kernel pops. Add the remaining kernels, cover, and cook until all the kernels have popped, or until the popping has slowed almost to a stop.
- Remove 8 cups of the popcorn to a large bowl and season with a little salt.
- Using the same saucepan, heat the shortening and agave nectar over medium heat until the shortening melts.
- Add the brown sugar, marshmallows, and gelatin and increase the heat. Stirring continuously, simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes.
- Pour this mixture over the popcorn and stir to coat – be careful not to burn yourself, as the liquid mixture is VERY hot!
- When the mixture has cooled just enough to handle it, use parchment paper to form the popcorn into 6 balls. Place them on the baking sheet and bake for a few minutes, until crunchy.
- Immediately add a stem to each pumpkin and let cool before serving or wrapping in plastic wrap.