Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Bit Of Nostalgia: Old-Fashioned Popcorn Balls

When I complained on Facebook about burning my fingers making popcorn balls, I had so many comments about them including, "Ah, my Grandmother made these every Halloween for us." and  "I remember doing that with my Granny and burning our fingers and hands..thanks for bringing the memory back."   My mother commented how her mother used to color them with orange food coloring for Halloween.  My aunt commented that they always knew which house would have popcorn balls when they trick or treated.  They aren't too hard to make, and the memories they bring back are certainly worth the effort.  Just watch your fingers when you make them.  But they are so good, the tastes and memories are worth a blister or two!
Popcorn Ball Party!
Combine corn syrup, sugar, water and
vinegar and bring to a boil.
Add cream of tartar

Boil to a soft crack stage (275-280 degrees F)
A candy thermometer is very helpful.

This is quite a rapid boil. 
Use caution so you don't burn yourself
with the hot syrup.
Add butter, baking soda and vanilla.
Pour hot mixture over popcorn
and form into baseball-sized balls. 
Enjoy a bit of your childhood again!

Old-Fashioned Popcorn Balls

1 cup popcorn kernels
2/3 cup corn syrup
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Pop the corn and set aside.  Combine corn syrup, sugar, water and vinegar and in a pot on the stove.  Heat to boiling.  Add cream of tartar.  Boil to a soft crack stage (275-280 degrees F).  This will be quite a rapid boil and takes a few minutes.  Watch our for splashing!  Remove from heat.  Add butter, baking soda and vanilla.  Stir well.  Pour over popcorn and form into balls.  NOTE:  You don't want to take too long getting the mixture over the popcorn and formed into balls as it will harden fairly quickly.  As soon as you can stand to touch the hot popcorn, start forming them into baseball-sized balls.

Prep Time:  Approximately 2o minutes     Cook Time:  Approximately 20 minutes

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