I would like to start off with an apology of sorts. The days are shorter, not for long I might add. Come December 21, I check Yahoo daily to check the time of the sunset, and relish the thought of gaining an extra minute of sunlight each day.
So, now that one semester of grad school is done, I thought “YES! BACK TO BLOGGING!”
Not so my friends, not so.
I then spent weeks, worrying, no – FREAKING OUT because I couldn’t ever get anything started or finished with enough daylight in my poor little dungeon-lit kitchen to take any pictures. Then come the weekends and I always seem to be gone somewhere.
What does any good Southern girl do in such a predicament?
MAKE IT DO, or do without.
It’s time for……. drum roll please.
HILL COUNTRY COOK, UNPLUGGED.
That means for the next few months, until all our seasonal depression has left us, I will still be cookin’ it up for you…. only, with terrible lighting.
Yes, I’ve staged all my food shots under the hood light over my stove.
Yes, it casts a strange yellow glow and so NOT natural, but WE’LL MAKE IT DO.
It’s all about the recipes anyhow, right?
Don’t judge me.
I love you.
Which brings me to: CARAMEL PRALINE POPCORN BALLS.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner.
While these are made with regular bagged popcorn, they don’t have that “Kettle Korn” taste.
The smell of kettle korn makes me nauseated.
Don’t ask. A traumatizing experience after being on a ski lift, and involves my head in a toilet.
I don’t THINK they’re too sweet, but I have been on some INSANE sugar kick ever since my secret santa keeps filling my box at work with Kit Kats.
KIT KATS, SECRET SANTA??? REALLY?! FINE!
Bring out the fat pants.
Back to the caramel corn balls.
It’s like a rice krispie treat. My mind is already brimming with ideas…..
Start by melting some butter (as in, a stick) with a few tablespoons of brown sugar.
Heat over medium a few minutes, and add looooots of marshmallows.
~Add lots of different sizes and varieties of mallows to use up your stash~
While this cooks, zap a few bags of microwave popcorn.
Heat longer until it bubbles.
Turn off the heat and stir until all mallows are evenly melted.
Pour the popcorn in a LARGE bowl, and slowly pour the mallow mixture over the popcorn.
Stir with a spoon, and be careful, sugar is very hot.
Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to take any pictures of this process while fingers are covered in marshmallow goop. Pain and suffering will ensue.
It’s a pretty forgiving process. Once it’s fairly well incorporated, dump it all into a 9×13, I piled it pretty high. Then smash it down with your hands.
It’s a little sticky, but not bad.
I originally thought I would leave it like this and cut it into squares, but I discovered it wanted to tear, so rolling it worked better.
I also planned on drizzling chocolate over it, but then I got tired.
Here is the strange yellow glow cast by the kitchen light.
Hill Country Cook, Unplugged. Don’t judge.
Grab a clump of popcorn, and begin rolling.
How could I forget?
I also added a handful of chopped candied pecans into the marshmallow before I poured it over the popcorn mixture.
Mmmm, hello Texas.
That’s it! Wrap up your pretty little popcorn balls, and please some people!
Thanks for still loving me, even with (temporarily) terrible lighting.
Peace, Love, and POPCORN Ya’ll!!
Caramel Praline Popcorn Balls
Yield: 12 balls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 bag marshmallows
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
5 snack size bags of popcorn, popped
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Add marshmallows, and heat until bubbly and melted.
While the marshmallows are melting, pop your popcorn according to directions.
Pour the popcorn into a large bowl, careful not to get any kernels in there!
Carefully pour the melted mallow and sugar mixture over the popcorn. Stir with a large spoon.
Dump the mixture into a 9x13 pan and press down.
Once it's cooled slightly, grab softball sized clumps of the popcorn, and roll into balls!