Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Marshmallow Popcorn {Honey Sweetened}

The season of sweets is in full swing around here. I love to make and eat treats right along with the rest of you. And even this time of the year sometimes I try to be a little healthier in the treats that I make. It's great to have yummy options without sugar that are still delicious and special to this time of the year. Today I want to post a wonderful little honey-sweetened discovery that I made the other day. This recipe is truly my own discovery, but it was born by joining together other people's ideas. That is usually how wonderful discoveries are made anyways, isn't it? 

The recipe idea started when I ran across this recipe for honey sweetened marshamallows. Yes I've made them on several occasions and they are tasty little wonders. Then two years ago around Christmas a lady in our neighborhood brought us the most wonderful popcorn you've ever tasted. It tasted like caramel corn, but so much better. Not hard and teeth-breaking, but soft and chewy and I loved it. So I begged the recipe from her and she brought it by and the main ingredient was marshmallows. I began to wonder and dream (like for a few years) if I could combine the two wonderful recipes to make a honey sweetened version of that yummy marshmallow popcorn. Well guess what? I finally did it the other day. And it is truly amazing! It's hard to believe that it contains no processed sugar. It's soft and sweet with a wonderful marshmallow-y, vanilla-y flavor. Yum. You'd better make sure to include this one in your holiday treats this year.

Marshmallow Popcorn {Honey Sweetened}

3 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin 
1 Cup cold water, divided
1-1/2 Cups honey, divided
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Cubes butter
1-1/2 to 2 Cups popcorn kernels, popped (or 8-10 quarts popped popcorn)

Put 1/2 Cup of cold water in the bowl of a mixer with attached whisk (or medium-large bowl if mixing with a hand mixer). Sprinkle 3 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin over the water and set aside to soften. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan add 1 Cup honey, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 Cup water. Heat on medium heat. Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to 240 degrees (or the soft ball stage). This should take about 7-10 minutes. Then remove from the heat immediately.

Carefully add the hot syrup to the gelatin mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Then add 1 tsp. vanilla and increase speed to high. Beat for 5-10 minutes (or longer), or until the mixture is thick and fluffy. It will look like marshmallow fluff like the picture below.

Marshmallow Fluff
While the marshmallow is mixing, in a large saucepan melt 2 Cubes of butter and 1/2 Cup honey (and get the popcorn popped if you haven't already). Be sure to remove all the un-popped kernels from the popcorn so no one breaks a tooth. Then once the marshmallow fluff is fluffy, add it to the butter-honey mixture in the saucepan and stir until everything is nicely melted together into a white, creamy mixture like the picture below. 

Marshmallow and butter melted together
Then pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn and stir until well coated, adding more or less popped popcorn as needed or desired. I found that 8 quarts was maybe not quite sufficient, so you may need a bit more. At this point you can spread the coated popcorn on wax-paper-lined cookie trays until cool. It will get slightly less sticky as it sets up, but you probably won't be able to wait that long. Eat and enjoy.

Recipe Source: healthyfamilycookin.blogspot.com

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