Pops are pretty and fun to eat, and this one is a simple treat that is sure to please. Marshmallows get a hug from a blanket of caramel and a generous peppering of popcorn. If you are strapped for time and don't care to explore the world of homemade marshmallow-ry, go the easy route and buy the mallows. If you have some extra time and haven't made marshmallows yet, give it a go! Homemade marshmallows have a wonderful texture and are a neutral canvas for experimenting with flavors that pair well with caramel. Like chocolate, cinnamon, cheesecake, whatever inspires you! So, first the easy version. Generic marshmallows seem to have a more dense texture and can stand up to dipping in warm caramel better than their puffy pals. Pierce with skewers. Pop in a bag and freeze for 1 hour or more. After the mallows have been in the freezer for 1+ hour, melt the caramel with milk and set aside to cool. Find your popcorn and gently crush. Tap, tap, tap. Dip. And roll. Refrigerate until caramel is set. They are adorable as-is, however if you want a more festive presentation you can wrap each pop in individual cake pop bags and tie with ribbon. Or you could find a piece of styrofoam, pierce and stand them up pops-up-top. Pretty simple, right? If you wish to take the road less traveled and make your own marshmallows, you'll find the recipe below. Or, just feast your eyes on some ethereal images of our fluffy clouds of sugary goodness.
Marshmallow Popcorn Pops
8-10 large marshmallows (or use recipe for home-made marshmallows, below)
4 ounces Annie B’s Baking Caramel (1/4 block), cubed
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cups Annie B’s Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn (or Annie B’s Caramel Popcorn)
Lollipop sticks or bamboo skewers
- Pierce each marshmallow with a skewer. Put in a zipper bag and freeze for at least 1 hour.
- In a narrow microwave-safe cup or glass, melt the caramel and milk in microwave at 10 second increments, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Alternatively, you could melt on the stovetop, stirring over low heat. Cool for 8-10 minutes.
- Put popcorn into a zipper bag and gently crush with rolling pin. Put the popcorn into a small bowl.
- Remove the marshmallows from the freezer and dip each into the caramel mixture, then roll into popcorn, rolling to cover completely.
- Refrigerate the pops until the caramel is set and cool.
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon flavoring such as pure vanilla extract, cheesecake emulsion, chocolate, cinnamon, etc.
1/4 powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer with ½ cup of the water.
- In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water and corn syrup. Pour sugar and salt into the center, taking care not to let sugar touch the sides. Place over medium high heat, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F. Remove from heat immediately.
- Using whisk attachment on mixer, turn the mixer on low speed. While running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all the mixture is added, slowly increase speed to high.
- Continue to whip until the mixture quadruples in volume and is lukewarm, approximately 12-15 minutes. Add the flavoring during the last minute of whipping.
- While the mixture is whipping, prepare the pan. Line a 9”x13” pan either with parchment paper or foil, liberally spray with nonstick spray.
- Mix powdered sugar and cornstarch together. Shake some around the surface of the pan. Save the remainder of the mixture.
- When the mixture is ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Don’t try to get everything out of the bowl, as it is almost impossible to do.
- Dust the top of the mixture with the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- To cut, turn out onto a cutting board and cut with a pizza wheel oiled and dusted with powdered sugar. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
- If using homemade marshmallows to make the popcorn balls, skip the step in the recipe below calling for dusting marshmallows with powdered sugar. The caramel will stick better. Since you won’t use all the marshmallows in this recipe, dust the leftover marshmallows with the powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture.