popcorn balls

September 14th, 2008

One of the nice things about blogs are the amazing tutorials and recipes that people share. One of the crappy things about having a blog is listening to the tutorial writer in your head narrating all the steps while you make something. Of course this only happens when my two toddlers aren’t screaming or banging or just being as loud as they can be for no reason, but when there is quiet that little voice in my head starts writing an informative and witty tutorial for whatever it is I might be doing at the time. So that’s why, out of the blue, I’m going to tell you how to make popcorn balls.

First make popcorn. Normally I hate popcorn, but it is quite a spectacle for the smaller set and we were stuck inside because of the rain.  We had it with tomato soup for lunch and there was a bunch leftover (how do you make just a little popcorn?). The recipe–Betty Crocker–says you should have 7 cups of popcorn to make popcorn balls–I think I had more, it just a big bowl full really. Be sure to pick all the unpopped kernels out or you will break a tooth on one. This is a good thing for kids to do while you deal with the blistering hot candy syrup.

Now put

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter

in a sauce pan. If you have a candy thermometer put it in the pan, if not have a small bowl full of ice water next to the stove. Cook the delicious butter and sugar mixture until it hits 250 degrees. This is hard ball stage and the syrup will form a hard ball (duh) when you drop it into the ice water. I broke my candy thermometer, so I had to use the ice water method and I just kept checking throughout.  It will color a little when it’s done and the ball shouldn’t be rock hard, but should give a little under pressure.

When it’s done, take it off the heat right away and add

1 tsp vanilla and
a couple drops of food color if you feel like it

It’s better to have these ready before you start so you don’t forget. Now pour the syrup all over the popcorn stirring quickly. It’s nice to have another person help at this point, but you can manage by yourself just fine. Let it cool a minute or two and make balls. If it’s sticky you can butter your hands a bit and then shape them. Voila! popcorn balls. I always remember these to be a halloween treat. I also remember them being enormous, but I made little ones for little hands. Remember to brush the little teeth when your done!

Posted in food/recipes.

30 Responses to popcorn balls

  1. […] Balls Meg from elsie marley (and our current board!) shares a fun and easy Popcorn Ball Recipe. It’s a nice holiday treat, a fun gift, and a great activity for kids… All in […]

  2. Bean says:

    I’m so making these, thank you!! :D

  3. meg says:

    popcorn ball tricks and tips

    *they will go stale in a couple days, you can always put them out for the squirrels (I don’t know if birds can eat them).
    *if your popcorn balls are gooey you didn’t cook the syrup long enough.
    *if you break a tooth biting into one, you cooked the syrup too long.
    *the temperature outside doesn’t really matter, but the lower the humidity the better (if it is humid, they will just be a little gooey)
    *microwave popcorn will work, I’m sure, but stove top popcorn is a lot of fun! If it’s been awhile, there is a tutorial here:
    *these are easy to decorate, just stick candy on when the syrup is gooey, or you can use frosting, or peanut butter. here are some halloween ones:
    but a snowman would be easy or you could try to make a turkey. They don’t have to be balls either, they can be houses, or bears, or trains.

  4. marie says:

    why did mine come out gooie? i could not get my popcorn to stick, please help…