Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack, I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team, If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out, At the old ball game.”
One hundred years ago, on May 2nd, 1908, the United States Copyright Office received two copies of a new song titled “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” submitted by composer Albert von Tilzer and lyricist Jack Norworth. This musical work, affectionately referred to over the century as the “other” national anthem—baseball’s national anthem—has become the grand-slam of all baseball songs. It has been ranked in survey polls as one of the top ten songs of the twentieth century and is second only to “Happy Birthday” and “The Star Spangled Banner” as the most easily recognized songs in America. (Information from The Library of Congress.)
One of my all-time favorite songs is Take Me Out to the Ball Game. I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but it’s true. If you’ve ever been to a baseball game in the middle of the seventh inning, you know why. It’s infectious. It brings people together. It’s just plain unabashed love for our national pastime.
I can’t wait to hear that song tonight when my hometown team, the St. Louis Cardinals, take on the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series.
My love for the Cardinals goes back so many years, I can barely remember the first game I went to as a child. Today, my love for the Cardinals is the greatest it’s ever been, as the road to their 18th World Series berth was paved with many ups and downs … and they fought through it all. Left for dead in August—down 10½ games behind the Atlanta Braves—their stunning comeback to win the National League Wild Card, the National League Division Series, and the National League Championship Series is the stuff that dreams are made of. Our St. Louis Cardinals are the personification of heart, and yes, they have a little piece of mine.
Okay, enough with the sentiment. Let’s get to the real reason you’re here. In honor of my teams appearance in the World Series this year, I present to you popcorn “baseballs.”
I got the inspiration for this recipe from The Yummy Life, a blog I had the distinct honor of cooking from in my last Secret Recipe Club assignment. Monica’s recipe for Red Hot Popcorn Party Mix immediately caught my eye the first time I saw it. A delicious mix of popcorn, honey roasted peanuts, cinnamon candies, and white chocolate, it’s the perfect treat to share with my fellow Cardinal loving friends.
I decided to adapt Monica’s recipe a bit and turn her “popcorn candy bark” into “popcorn baseballs” … and I’m pleased to announce that it worked. These adorable “baseballs” are the perfect game night treat … and since I just know the Cardinals are going to go all the way, I made plenty to have on hand each night they play!
- 8 cups air-popped popcorn (see notes)
- 1 cup honey roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup “Hot Tamales” chewy cinnamon candy
- 1/4 cup “Red Hots” cinnamon candy
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 ounces (approx. 1/2 bag) mini-marshmallows
- 1 cup white chocolate or vanilla baking chips
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- Decorating sprinkles (red sugar, nonpareils, etc)
1. Pop popcorn if making yourself. Sort through popcorn to remove any unpopped or small, hard kernels. Place popcorn in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine peanuts, Hot Tamales, Red Hots, and salt; mix thoroughly and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Stir in marshmallows and cook until melted, stirring constantly. Scrape bottom of pan frequently while stirring.
4. While marshallows are melting, combine white chocolate chips with canola oil in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Melt in microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring after each until chips are completely melted.
5. When marshmallows are melted, stir in melted chocolate and combine thoroughly. (If too think, add 1 tablespoon melted butter to thin.) Pour marshmallow and chocolate mixture over the popcorn and stir with spoon to coat evenly, working quickly to distribute evenly. Stir in peanut and candy mixture until evenly distributed.
6. Quickly shape the coated popcorn/peanut/candy mixture into balls before mixture cools. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and sprinkle with decorating sprinkles of your choice. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.
7. Wrap popcorn balls with plastic wrap or in cellphane treat bags to give as gifts; store at room temperature.
Makes 10 medium-sized popcorn balls.
Recipe Notes: Monica also has a recipe on her blog for making air-popped popcorn in your microwave, and it’s genius. Try it! Also, to keep the popcorn mixture from sticking to your hands while shaping it into balls, spray your hands with cooking spray. You’ll thank me later.