“Brainy” Popcorn Balls

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Brainy Popcorn1It is hard to believe that Halloween is less than a week away.  We are excited to take Judah trick-or-treating as this will be his first year actually walking to each house.  Last year we didn’t last long because we had to carry the 23-pound Chick-fil-a Cow up and down the block.

Since there are only a few days left to have an excuse for making disgusting looking food, I thought I’d throw these together and share them with you.  Popcorn balls are actually very easy to make, but they do render a tiny mess.  There are a few ways to help keep the stickyness off your hands when shaping the balls.  One way is to oil your hands, but I found then that the actual popcorn balls are left with an outer layer of oil and will leave your guests with oily fingers, too.  Another option is to wear latex gloves, and a third is to shape them between parchment or wax paper.  The oil is probably the easiest, but lacks the best results.  We’re going for the gore factor here, though, so maybe oily brains will do.  🙂

Brainy Popcorn2

“Brainy” Popcorn Balls

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: 1 popcorn ball

  • 1 (10.5 ounce) bag marshmallows
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, cut up
  • 6 cups popcorn, popped and lightly salted
  • red food coloring
  • paintbrush

Melt the marshmallows and butter over very low heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, then squeeze in two drops of red food coloring. Slightly stir, allowing marble effect. Add the popcorn and mix until covered with the marshmallow.

Either with lightly oiled hands, latex gloves, or between wax paper, shape the popcorn into eight equal sized balls. Place on sheet of wax or parchment, then press down slightly to achieve more of a brain shape. Squeeze another drop or two of red food coloring on the top of each popcorn ball, then use a paintbrush to paint a solid red line down the center. Paint on additional "blood" as desired. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Source: Adapted from Tablespoon


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  1. When I first opened this I actually felt a little queasy, so great job on making them look gross! Your kid and that costume are adorable. 🙂

  2. These are too cute!! Love them.

  3. What a neat idea!

  4. I put in a small packet of jell-o when making my popcorn balls. Just add it to your butter & marshmallow mixture. Gives them more flavor and it naturally “dies” the ball whatever color you want. Choose cherry for red, as an example. Makes them so tasty!

  5. I Think these will be perfect for the five 11 year old I will have at my house Saturday!

  6. How fun!

  7. I’ve found that coating your hands in a thin layer of butter before shaping the balls is a great way to keep them from sticking to your hands. It’s what we do when making popcorn balls with homemade caramel which tends to be much more sticky than marshmallow.

  8. Fantastic idea! I’d love to make these in advance for my sons spooky party- how well do you think they woud keep?

  9. These are just terrible. All I have is a big, sloppy mess of ingredients I have to throw away now. I learned my lesson, don’t get recipes from Pinterest and if all the comments are just people saying “neat idea” or “these are cool”, keep looking for something else.

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