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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, March 31

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Recipe Wed Oct 30 2013

Treat Yourself on Halloween

balls.jpgOver the weekend I was feeling homesick for the good old days when Halloween got me excited. We're talking way back. Back before everyone would go to a costume party dressed as a
"Sexy __________." Back before the coolest thing you could say about the holiday was how many PBRs your friend chugged. That was a while ago, huh? Like do you even remember a time before then?

You know what was important back in those days? C-A-N-D-Y. That's what. Back then the coolest thing that could happen would be to get a full sized Snicker or Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Even cooler would be avoiding getting a bag full of Smarties. My favorite Halloween candy memory isn't about store bought candy. It's about our neighbor's famous popcorn balls. Each year Mrs. Keeling's yard would be full of kids lining up to feast on her popcorn treats.

We don't get trick-or-treaters at our apartment, but they were a great excuse for making popcorn balls this weekend. I didn't want to give our imaginary visitors lame store bought candy. I decided to have a Mrs. Keeling moment and make the kids something special.

Let's hope I don't get any spooky visitors tomorrow night. I ended up eating my entire batch of popcorn balls while watching Hocus Pocus over the weekend. So much for acting like a grown-up, I guess. My popcorn balls can't touch the ones Mrs. Keeling used to make for us, but they'll do. You should make these popcorn balls to eat while you wait for your doorbell to ring.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering hands
1 package miniature marshmallows (10 ounces)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 quarts popped popcorn (I used Smartfood Kettle Corn...because I'm LAZY)
1 cup dried cranberries, or English toffee bits, optional (I added a half cup of each)

This recipe is like making really messy Rice Crispy Treats. First you melt butter in a large heavy pot over low heat. Add marshmallows and brown sugar and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Pour popcorn and cranberries, or English toffee bits if using, into pot; toss well. With buttered hands, shape into 2 1/2-inch balls. Set on parchment lined baking sheet to dry slightly. Seriously. Don't not butter your hands. You'll never get this off of you otherwise. ENJOY!

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Oliver stone / October 31, 2013 12:21 PM

sounds like a very tasty treat for holloween and i do agree most people come to a party dressed as a 'sexy_____" usually nurse of vampire

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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