Remember last month when I shared a stuffed burger recipe with you, as part of the Good Cook Stuffed Burger Competition? Well, I came in second place in the all-beef category. Not bad, huh? I want to thank you all again for your support, votes and sharing my burger recipe with family and friends, as well as all the emails and comments about how tasty the burger was when you re-created at home for your family. Now, this month, I was given another challenge, as part of the Good Cook Experts blogger group was to come up with an original popcorn ball recipe, and use supplies provided by Good Cook and Jolly Time popcorn, to try it out. I don't know about you, but one of my favorite things to make is popcorn balls, especially during the Christmas season. I usually never ventured outside the standard popcorn ball recipe that uses melted caramels and popcorn. So, this Good Cook Popcorn Ball Challenge was going to be interesting.
After rattling my brain for a few days, I came up with a list of potential popcorn ball flavors, and polled family and friends. In the end, they all agreed that they would love to try my "Monkey Business" popcorn ball, which consists of dried banana chips, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and banana flavoring.
I thought about using mashed bananas, but thought it might make the popcorn soggy, so I went with the dried banana chips instead, and love the added crunch it gave to the final product.
The folks at Good Cook provided me with the following items to help with this fun popcorn ball challenge:
All items shown above can be purchased directly from the Good Cook website. And, right now you can use the coupon code "POPCORN" to save 25% off the Good Cook popcorn ball makers. If you have more than one child, I would suggest picking up a few of these easy to use popcorn ball makers, as the kids will want to get in on the fun, and help you make these treats.
Here is what my "Monkey Business" popcorn balls look like.
Popcorn ball rolled in shredded coconut
Popcorn ball without the coconut
I loved the printed clear plastic bags with twist ties from Good Cook, as they made for storing each individual popcorn ball a breeze. And, when it came time to have family and friends taste test, I loved just passing around the oversized party bowl filled with popcorn balls wrapped in the festive Halloween treat bags. So, what did everyone think of my "Monkey Business" popcorn balls? Let's just say that they went apes for them! :-) They couldn't stop talking about how good they tasted, and how you could really taste the banana in each bite. And, for those who are not usually fans of popcorn or popcorn balls, they, too, couldn't stop talking about how good they were. By the end of the night, the popcorn bowl was empty, and everyone left with a smile on their face and belly pull of popcorn. :-) Guests didn't leave before offering up new popcorn ball flavor suggestions. I told them that they would have to come over for the holidays, and instead of making Christmas cookies, we would experiment in the kitchen and make flavored popcorn balls. Can't wait to see what new flavors we come up with. :-)
If you love getting creative in the kitchen, or trying out new things, why not pick up a popcorn ball maker from Good Cook, along with some Jolly Time popcorn the next time you go food shopping, and make an afternoon of it with the family. I felt like a kid again, playing with my food, as I tried to come up with just the right amount of flavor for my popcorn balls. But, I have to say that sampling them with family and friends was my favorite part of this whole popcorn ball challenge.
Here is my recipe for my "Monkey Business" popcorn balls, in case you want to try them out with your family:
10 Cups freshly popped popcorn (I used Jolly Time in an air popper)
1/4 Cup butter
3 Cups mini marshmallows
1/2 Cup shredded coconut
1/2 Cup chocolate chips
1/2 Cup banana chips (ground or chopped)
1 Tbsp. banana extract flavoring
12 Cup nuts (ie. almonds, walnuts, pecans) -- optional
1. Melt butter and marshmallows in large sauce pan, making sure to stir constantly to prevent sticking and burning of the marshmallow. Once both are melted and combined, remove from heat.
2. Pop the popcorn in the microwave, on the stove, or in an air popcorn popper. Make sure to remove unpopped kernels from batch. Put in a large bowl, as you will be adding additional ingredients to the popcorn.
3. To the bowl of freshly popped popcorn, add the chocolate chips, ground or chopped banana chips, banana extract and nuts (optional). Stir to combine. Then, add the melted marshmallow butter mixture to the popcorn slowly, making sure to stir to combine, as you pour. Once all the popcorn is coated, use the popcorn baller to form popcorn balls. Or, if you don't have a popcorn baller, you can use your hand by forming balls.
4. Once the popcorn balls are formed, roll them in a shallow baking dish filled with the shredded coconut, until completely covered. If you don't like coconut, you can skip this step.
5. Place popcorn balls on a sheet of waxed paper and let set under firm, 1-2 hours. Then, enjoy!
*To give popcorn colors festive colors, you can also add 2-3 drops of food coloring. Or, add 1 small package of flavored Jello to give additional flavor and color.
* Try melting additional chocolate and dipping the tops of the popcorn balls into the melted chocolate. Let refrigerate to set. Or, drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn balls for a classy look.
Want more popcorn ball inspiration? Check out the creations other Good Cook Experts came up with, when given the challenge to create an original popcorn ball recipe. I have to say that everyone came up with some amazing treats, and I can't wait to find time to out each and every one. :-) How about you? Any that catch your eye from the list below? Let me know by leaving a comment on this blog post, as well as visiting the blogger's website and letting them know you love their popcorn ball creation. :-)
---Win a FREE Good Cook Popcorn Ball Maker and Jolly Time Popcorn---
Starting today, Oct. 7th, and running through Oct. 14th, enter the Free Jolly Time Pop Corn and Good Cook Popcorn Baller Giveaway over at the Good Cook Facebook Page. Each day, 250 people will be chosen to win a Good Cook spherical Popcorn Baller, along with a coupon for a FREE box of Jolly Time popcorn.
So, what are you waiting for? Head over to the Good Cook Facebook Page to enter this fun giveaway now. Good luck!
Stay tuned as I will sharing a few Halloween inspired posts in the coming weeks, as part of another Good Cook Expert Challenge. :-)
Disclosure: I was sent samples from the folks at Good Cook in order to write up an honest review. The views shared are mine and mine alone.