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Sweet Sunday

So today I sat down to blog about a sweet treat for Valentine's Day so I went to one of my favorite dessert blogs for inspiration. Holy overload of adorable and yummy "can't eat just one" treats. Thank you Love from the Oven for making me feel like I have no creative baking bone in my body but inspiring me to try.

I couldn't decide on which one to highlight so here are a few links for you to pick for yourself. If you're looking for inspiration on what to make for your child's class party that will make you look like the Superstar mom, you gotta check out all these ideas.

Although I won't be attempting a layered multi-colored swiring pink cake or those delish looking pink velvet cake balls pictured above. Something about me and those dang cake balls. They defeat me everytime. So you'll find me whipping up something simple like these popcorn balls. I love sweet and salty and you know I'm all about anything low fat, high fiber.

~Popcorn Balls~

1 cup unbleached granulated sugar
1/4 cup (half stick) Earth Balance buttery sticks or regular Earth Balance
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 cups popped popcorn (two quarts), popped however you like - To make it low fat, use the 94% popcorn
1 teaspoon vanilla extract a dab of Wilton coloring paste (she used rose)
A candy thermometer

1) Put the sugar, Earth Balance, corn syrup and salt in a medium sized sauce pan. Stir to moisten the sugar.
2) Spread your popcorn out onto a lipped cookie sheet. The popcorn ball process is gonna make a mess on the tray, but the caramel will come off easily with a hot water soak so don't worry.
3) Clip the candy thermometer to your saucepan and bring the caramel ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Stir frequently to make sure the sugar does not burn.
4) Once the caramel comes to a boil, stop stirring. Bring the caramel up to 270F which is just to the hardball stage.
5) Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and color paste. Stir well to distribute the color.
6) Quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn. Use a utencil to distribute the caramel evenly over the popcorn. You want to get it coated as much as possible.
7) Grease your hands and wait for the stuff to get to a temperature you can tolerate. Don't wait too long because it will start to get hard really fast.
8) Form popcorn balls into whatever sizes you like using medium pressure to make the balls uniform and compact. They will get very crunchy when cool.

I agree that the popcorn balls aren't uber cute on their own so here's a catchy printable ("Just POPPING through with a Valentine for you!") to attach to a cellophane bag or tin can from Our Best Bites that ties in the popcorn theme to Valentines Day. I just love the tin can idea. For a tutorial on the tin can trick, click HERE. So crafty.

Or what about "YOU MAKE MY HEART POP!' or "MY HEART POPS FOR YOU!" Oooh now I'm getting crafty. Scary.

I hope this ends your weekend on a sweet note!

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