Growing up, my mother about this time of year would make us popcorn balls. It was a fall tradition. I still have the recipe in her hand that she gave to me. Since it is now fall, I’d like to pass it on so you can make them with your kids or grand kids. It was a family affair. She would pop the popcorn and fill a huge enamel dish pan and make up the syrup. We would all get our hands wet by dipping them in cold water and pick up the hot syrupy popcorn and form the balls.
1 cup sugar
1 tbs. vinegar
1 cup white Karo syrup
Large bowl of popped popcorn (I now use 4 bags of microwave popcorn, but mom would never do that)
Pop the pop corn and salt to taste. Try to make sure there are no old maids in the popcorn. Mix sugar, vinegar and syrup and boil mixture until syrup forms a hard ball in cold water. The hard ball test is to take a drop of the hot mixture and put in tablespoon of cold water. If it turns to a hard ball, the mixture is done. Pour hot mixture slowly all over the popcorn. Make sure you have a bowl of cold ice water next to the hot mixture. Place your hands in the water and them take a handful of popcorn mixture and form a ball. You will want to let cool just a bit. Do not press too hard but hard enough to keep balls together. Put your hands in the cold water each time you form a ball.
Wrap in plastic wrap after balls have cooled. This should make over 12 small balls.
Variation – After you have made the popcorn ball, roll it in candy corn and peanuts mixture and press again to get it to stick. Another variation is after you make a popcorn ball and it has cooled a bit, you can also roll them in M & M’s or sprinkle them with orange and black sprinkles for color. Melt some chocolate chips and put in a baggie, cutting off the tip and drizzle chocolate on the finished popcorn ball.
I remember when we went trick or treating, an elderly neighbor lady made them and gave them out as treats. We always went to her house every year. Wish those care free days were here for our kids where we knew and trusted all of our neighbors.
I think I will share some fall and Halloween treats with you in the near future so you can make some new traditions and great memories.
Be happy and may God bless you and yours.