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"Dirty" Popcorn Balls

"Dirty" Popcorn Balls
Perfect for a Halloween party, these dressed-up popcorn balls can be made in advance, or let the kids make them during the party. If using microwave popcorn, choose a low-salt or salt-free variety.

Ingredients:

  • 12 cups popped corn (one 6-oz. package microwave popcorn)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 16 gummi worms (about 6 oz.)

Directions:

Pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter on High until melted, about 45 seconds. Add the marshmallows and stir to coat. Microwave on High until the marshmallows start to melt and look puffy, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and cocoa powder and toss to mix. Set aside.

Stir together the melted marshmallows and butter until smooth. Pour the warm marshmallow mixture over the popcorn and stir to coat the popcorn evenly.

Using well-buttered hands, scoop up a handful of the popcorn and shape into a baseball-size ball, pressing firmly. Pull apart 2 openings in the ball and place a gummi worm inside each opening, letting the worms' heads and some parts of their bodies peek through. Close the ball and press firmly to seal the worms inside. Repeat with the remaining popcorn and worms. Roll the balls in the cookie-crumb mixture until roughly coated.

Eat immediately, or wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 2 days. Makes 8 popcorn balls.

Preparation Tip: To mash the cookies for the dirt, place whole chocolate cookies in a sturdy sealable plastic bag and press them with the back of a spoon.

Candy Corn Variation: Skip the cookie crumbs and gummi worms. Tint the melted marshmallow mixture with orange food coloring. Mix a big handful of candy corn into the popcorn with the marshmallow mixture and form into balls as directed.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kids Parties, by Lisa Atwood (Oxmoor House, 2008).