If a rice krispie treat smashed into caramel corn, you’d get this ooey gooey goody. The buttery brown sugar caramel becomes extra chewy when mini marshmallows are melted into it, and help ensure the freshly popped corn holds together in round orange balls. Top each popcorn ball off with a green candy “stem” for an extra pumpkin-y result.
If you like, melt 1/4 cup of semisweet or milk chocolate chips and transfer to a small piping bag with a very fine tip. Use the melted chocolate to draw jack-o-lantern faces or vertical lines around the pumpkins.
Serve these beauties on a big platter at your next Halloween gathering!
Salted Caramel Popcorn Jack-O-Lanterns
Makes about 12 balls
- 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 (10 oz) package mini marshmallows
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- A few drops orange food coloring (or a mix of yellow and red)
- About 12 green rope candies, each 1-inch long (I used Sour Punch Bites, apple flavor)
- Pop the popcorn according to package directions, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar, cream, and corn syrup and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens and gets syrupy, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the marshmallows, salt, and food coloring until the mixture is smooth.
- Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir to completely coat the popcorn. As soon as the mixture is cool enough to handle, grease your hands with butter or cooking spray and scoop up about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the mixture and form it into balls.
- Place each ball onto the prepared baking sheet and shove a green candy “stem” into the top of the ball before they set. Let set until firm, about 15 minutes.