Popcorn balls are a classic choice when it come to fall sweets. There are several different ways to make these, but i prefer the old fashioned way involving corn syrup instead of marshmallows. I think they just taste better this way! Sweet and sticky, you can also make these fun for halloween by adding food coloring to the syrup or by adding wilton candy eyes!
This recipe is easy to follow but I have a few tips, make sure you have everything ready before you start because once you get started this recipe goes by fast! The popcorn balls will be very hot as you start to form them and buttering your hands, while sounding weird, really does keep them from sticking to you! I also suggest not trying to take pictures as you go or have someone help!
- 10 Cups Popped Popcorn (about 1/2 Cup Popcorn Kernels)
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
- 1/4 Cup Butter
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- Candy Eyes (optional)
1. Pour the popped popcorn into a large bowl. You should use un-buttered popcorn for these popcorn balls. Set aside.
2. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, bring the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt to a boil. This takes about 3 minutes. Carefully attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Continue to stir over medium heat until mixture reaches the Hard Crack stage. If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can fill a small bowl with ice water and drop a small amount of the syrup mixture into the ice water. If it hardens and you can snap it in half, then it has reached the Hard Crack stage.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. This will cause the syrup to foam so stir carefully. Pour over the popcorn.
4. Quickly stir the popcorn with a rubber spatula until it is evenly coated.
5. Quickly cover your hands with butter and start forming into balls, about 1 cup worth of popcorn for each one. This will be hot and you need to work quickly before they get to hard. If desired press candy eyes into each one perfect for Halloween!
6. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, you can wrap each one individually in plastic Saran wrap. (Adding Candy Eyes is optional but makes these great for a Halloween party.)