Popcorn balls are a really fun treat to make with the whole family! I remember making these with my mom and siblings for various holidays. Orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, and green for St. Patty’s day. We didn’t have a large enough bowl to contain all the popcorn so my mom would wash the sink really good and we would mix the popcorn with the caramel right there in the sink. You have to mix and form the balls while the syrup is still pretty hot so we would butter our hands so the caramel syrup wouldn’t stick and then work really fast making as many balls as we could. I now recommend wearing plastic dish cleaning gloves (that are thoroughly cleaned) and just butter those up real good. And eating them warm is an extra special treat!
If you don’t have an air popper I definitely recommend the Presto PowerPop Microwave Popcorn Popper (only $17!). We received ours as a wedding gift 4 years ago and use it multiple times a week (we really like popcorn). I like it because it is small and I can determine how much oil/butter (if any) goes in my popcorn. It’s also super easy to use and clean.
- 1 1/2 cups popcorn kernels
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup white corn syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup 2 sticks butter
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Food Coloring
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining each with wax paper.
- In an air popper machine, pop the popcorn kernels. Sift through and remove any unpopped kernels. Place popcorn in a very large bowl (or use two bowls or a cleaned empty sink).
- In a large pot (5 quart), combine sugar, corn syrup, water, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and add 4-6 drops of food coloring (however much you desire). Continue to boil for about 4-5 minutes until bubbles begin to become larger and fewer. It will still be thin. Or if you have a candy thermometer cook until 245 degrees and then remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Pour over popcorn and then mix with a rubber spatula until all the popcorn is evenly covered.
- Rub about a teaspoon of softened butter all over your hands and form 26-30 baseball sized balls (apply more butter if popcorn starts sticking to your hands). Pack gently/loosely so they aren't so hard when you bite into them. Set balls on prepared pans and allow to cool/dry completely.
- Once cooled, place each popcorn ball in a sandwich size ziploc bag.
Recipe Source: Grandma Maurene Crandall