Thursday, December 20, 2007

Popcorn Treats

Tis the season to thank those who help you all the year through! I really appreciate the care my children receive while I work out at the Y, so I wanted to do something to express our thanks to each staff member. Since we are using what we have this Christmas I had to get creative. I had to think backward and first consider what kinds of packaging I had available and it was pretty slim paper plates in the house, no treat bags and also no disposable food storage containers or platters. What I did have were baggies, the good old-fashioned kind that you tie shut. Now, on to the ingredients. Marshmallows that had seen fresher days (i.e. too smashed together to use for hot chocolate), a few kinds of sweet add-ins and popcorn. I've got it...popcorn balls. I mixed a few recipes I found online and came up with these.
Popcorn Balls
1 lb. marshmallows
1 C. butter
20-22 C. popped popcorn (for me this was 2/3 C. of unpopped kernels)
1/2 of 6 oz. bag of craisins
6 oz. raisins
1 C. peanuts
1/2 of 11 oz. bag of M&Ms
cooking spray, butter or a bit of oil - for your hands
1. Before you turn on your stove:
- run a sinkful of hot soapy water
- line two baking sheets or your countertop with wax paper.
2. Make popcorn and remove any unpopped kernels. Then place in very large bowl. 32 cup capacity should do it.
3. In medium bowl, mix together craisins, raisins, peanuts and M&Ms.
4. Melt butter, then add in marshmallows over low heat, stirring frequently until melted.
5. Pour melted marshmallows over popcorn. Quickly dump pot into soapy water.
6. Stir like crazy! A heat resistant spatula is best. Wooden spoon, not so much.
7. Add the mix-ins and stir quickly.
8. Spray hands with cooking spray.
9. Quickly form into balls and place on wax paper.
10. Wash up your dirty dishes and your popcorn balls should be ready to package.
This made 33 popcorn balls, each being about the size of a small apple.
Once these were made it was on to the packaging. I wrapped each one in a baggie and tied with ribbon. Without any other containers on hand, I put these in a plastic tub, the kind spinach comes in when you buy it at a wholesale club. I put a piece of green tissue paper at the bottom for color, filled it up with the individually wrapped popcorn balls, and placed a thank you card loosely on the edge. At the bottom of the notecard I provided the ingredient list, just to be on the safe side with allergies and such. We'll bring these into those fine folks tomorrow.
Here's a rough cost breakdown.
popcorn - gift from extended family
marshmallows - $1.00
butter - 1.00
craisins - .75
raisins - .75
peanuts - .25
M&Ms - .50 (sale & coupon)
baggies - .50
ribbon, card & tissue - .25
Total Cost = $5, or about 15 cents each
This took under one hour of my time and I hope it will bless them this season.
Below is a bonus for the grandparents of some other sweet things in our house tonight! Smiley was already in bed. Enjoy!

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