If weird, artificial colors, artificial flavors and "bad stuff" send you running for the hills, well then, get your running shoes and find a hill because this ain't no healthy recipe. But, if every now and then you like to live dangerously and like me you've got an 80/20 philosophy about eating healthy (80% healthy, 20% "throw caution to the wind") then you just might have what it takes to try this out. This candy popcorn is a favorite of my kids and they request it each year on their birthdays. The possibilities of color and flavor are endless and layered in a cellophane bag and tied with a ribbon, it makes a great party favor. And, for some reason, it is strangely addictive. I make it for my kids, then end up eating half of it myself when it neither looks nor sounds appetizing. I can only guess that it's the "crispy crunch" that keeps me reaching for more. I'm going to leave it at that, sometimes it is OK not to questions and to just accept. This just might be one of those times. So throw caution to the wind and give it a try.
Here is what you'll need. Popped popcorn (9 cups of it, pop it up however you like, microwave, air popper, whatever. I throw about 1/3 cup kernels and 3 T. vegetable oil in a big pot, cover and shake over medium heat until it's all popped, usually gives me around 9 cups.), butter, light corn syrup, sugar and a package of Jell-O (whatever flavor you like).
Throw the popcorn in a big bowl, the biggest you have. You want plenty of room, when the time comes, to toss it all around.
In a medium saucepan, set over medium-low heat, melt the butter and corn syrup.
Stir in the sugar and Jell-O (looks white but see on the edges, there is a bit of green, well it's gunna get a whole lot greener.) Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly (it can burn quickly), for 5 whole minutes. Set a timer!
OK, no pictures of the next few steps because we are working with hot sugar here and you've got to work quickly AND I have yet to master the art of "action photography". I'm working on it, I promise.
After a full 5 minutes, remove from heat and pour over the popcorn. Stir around until all of the popcorn is coated. Careful not to get any on you. It's hot and sticky and it will burn!
Then spread it out on a large rimmed cookie sheet that is lined with a Silpat or buttered foil. Use two forks to spread it out evenly. Then into a 300°F oven for just 10 minutes. Watch it close, some flavors start to brown and you don't want that. If you start to see brown, pull it out of the oven, stir it around a bit and then put it back in.
Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. You can see, I wasn't paying close enough attention and it started to brown a bit. If you catch it in time, no big deal, doesn't really change the flavor, it's an aesthetic thing.
Then break it up into manageable bite sized pieces and enjoy. Here you see I made lime and strawberry. In the past I've made lemon, orange, grape, blue-raspberry. Any flavor of Jell-O will work. Just don't use "Sugar-Free", it doesn't work. Some colors/flavors are more vivid than others, you'll just have to experiment for yourself. Enjoy!
9 C. popped popcorn (un-popped kernels removed)*
1/4 C. butter
3 T. light corn syrup
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 pkg. (4 serving size) Jell-O gelatin, any flavor
Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or buttered foil. Place popcorn in a large bowl.
In a medium saucepan heat butter and corn syrup over low heat until butter is melted. Stir in sugar and Jell-O. Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Immediately pour over popcorn tossing to coat well. Spread into prepared pan, using two forks to spread it out evenly. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool, remove from pan and break into small pieces.
*If you like, reduce popcorn to 8 cups and add 1 cup of cocktail peanuts.
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