Billie Rupp’s Popcorn Balls

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Here is my second attempt to post my godmothers wonderful popcorn balls. It appears wordpress is not exactly easy to navigate for someone who is technologically handicapped. My wonderful, reminiscent ramblings were deleted somehow, some way I’ve yet to comprehend.
So back to old school, type it up in Word and then copy/paste. I’m never going to rely on word-press to save my draft for me, no Sir-E-bob. (UGH! SO FRUSTRATING!)

When I was 6, my parents moved our family up from California to a cul-de-sac in the western suburbs of Portland, Oregon. I have fond memories of that house: riding my banana bike with ‘reins’ (a piece of string) tied to the handlebars of which I had vivid fantasies of riding some great white majestic mare; making mud pies with my brother, digging caves in haystacks of cut drying wheat in the fields next to our housing development, playing on our Jungle Gym; and going over to Mrs. Rupp’s house, a wonderful woman who would become my Godmother.

Mrs. Rupp you see, always had something wonderful going on in her kitchen. My own mother was a stay at home mom, but as we all know, the grass is greener elsewhere, and my mother was a busy woman. My little brother and I would regularly traipse over to see what interesting thing she was working on, and hopefully score a treat.

Mrs. Rupp had the best sarsaparilla ever. She made the syrup from scratch and kept it in a mason jar in her fridge. She’d fill a tall glass with ice, pour the molasses colored brown liquid in, then fill it with old fashioned seltzer water. Half the thrill was holding the glass up and letting the bubbles pop in our noses. Mrs. Rupp’s mother made shrunken apple ‘people’, which created a mixed reaction of ‘neato’ and ‘gross’. But, the memory most fond for me was of her popcorn balls.

You see, every Halloween, Mrs. Rupp handed out homemade popcorn balls. Creamy, sticky, caramel-loaded goodness that we waited a year for. Those were the days eh? When people actually handed out homemade goodies like real candied apples (bright red and shiny), real lollypops, homemade divinity and fudge, real candies. Oh yes, those were the days alright, and lest I start on a rant about the world we live in now…we’ll move on.

My Godmother would hand them out at Halloween, but I make them over the Christmas holidays. I prefer to give baskets of homemade treats over store bought trinkets which end up in the trash. I wrap my popcorn balls up in waxed paper and tie them off with a piece of string or colorful rubber band, and nestle them in with other homemade goodies. So, as we begin the Christmas giving season, here is the gift of my Godmothers famous (at least in my mind) Popcorn Balls:

Pop 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels and pour in to a large bowl.

In a saucepan melt:
1 stick of salted butter (extra for your hands and molding)
30 large marshmallows
1 cup of brown sugar, packed

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You could use unsalted and add back a bit of salt, but I just use regular salted butter. The marshmallows I buy are Gluten Free, be sure to check the ingredients if you are intolerant. I supposed you could make your marshmallow from scratch, but I don’t bother. If you do, a bag is 10 oz and you don’t use the entire bag, so I’d estimate you need about 9oz.

Once the mixture is all melted and all the marshmallows have turned to goo, pour the whole thing over the popped corn and stir to mix.

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Then take additional softened butter and liberally rub it all over your hands. Grab a lump and form in to a ball, putting on some waxed paper (or parchment) to cool. Try not to compact them too much. They should be kinda loose, just packed enough to keep them in their shape. See in the photo below? These are not lead balls of sugar. When they cool, you want to be able to pull them apart, its half the fun!

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You will likely need to reload your hands more than once to keep the mix from sticking and making clubs out of your hands. You’ll want to work fairly quickly to keep the mix from setting up. I recommend for large quantities you make multiple batches instead of doubling. Its easier to work with while warm.
Note: If they are too warm, they will not stick together. Just wait another minute and try again. Keep your hands covered in butter to keep them from sticking to your hands-which can be frustrating!

That’s it! I hope you enjoy them as much as we all do. I hope they become a tradition in your house, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below.


Halloween Came Early…

I am currently sitting here, in my spot, at the kitchen table and had to share with my fledgling community of friends and followers the intense joy I am feeling. 

To my left is a gaggle of girls. I use that term endearingly, having raised two and having had young ladies trooping in and out of my house for years. When there are more than three, it becomes a gaggle. Ask anyone who has experience of more than three women together. Talk gets fast, increasingly louder, giddy, giggly, you know, girlie!

Here in Minnesota, October is the month of MEA. Basically, it’s a convenient, state mandated day off for teachers to ‘educate’ themselves. Thus, basically its two days off for the kids. Offspring #2 is a senior in High School. As seniors, they got off a day early as the rest of the school is in testing. (They do pre-ACT’s for the younger grades) As seniors, they are celebrating by having a pumpkin carving extravaganza, and decorating store bought cookies. Yes, I did offer to make them, but was turned down by offspring #2. To be honest, I was disappointed and relieved at the same time. I love planning parties, and offspring #2 knows that. I think she inherited a bit of control freak from me, as she wanted to do this – HER WAY. (I’m dating myself, but i’m reminded of the Burger King commercials)

I had a bible study tonight, so hubby saved the bacon by setting up the banquet tables in the garage for them to do their ‘biz’ with the pumpkin until I got home. 

Now they are in the kitchen, around my island with frosting flying, black teeth, and the beginnings of a sugar high. And I am in heaven. 

I think about the fact I have a senior. I have been a stay at home mom for 18 years. Staring at that number, I cant help but think 18 looks like a small number. That is, until I put it in perspective. I’ve been through 3 moves; many friends who have come, gone and stayed; I’m nearly 2 decades older, and I’ve seen 3 presidents in office during that time. I have been a mom nearly 2/3rds of my life. This year will fly by. It did with offspring #1 and I know it will with this one. What will it look and feel like this time next year? Where will be the gaggle of giggling girls, excitement and joyful noise filling every corner of my house? It is something I look forward to with anticipation and trepidation. The fear of the unknown, the anxiety of entering a new phase of my life and redefining ‘who’ I am. 

I’ll worry about that later. For now, I am in my own little slice of heaven. Thank you Lord for all the blessings you have given me. Truly, it is the riches of the heart that are more precious than all the gold of this earth.

ps) I am one who struggles with technology. I have not mastered yet how to post pictures, but when I do, I will attach them. I apologize in advance for the lack of visual cohesion. Its a joyful mess here.