Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Popcorn Balls!

I have a thing for candied things. Strangely enough, though, I don't make candied things. I tried peanut brittle once and it nearly killed us. It was terrible. Well, I mean, the taste was good enough, but it was so chewy, w all nearly got stuck with something like lock-jaw for a while. Yeah, it was bad.

So, I don't make candies. And I'm not even sure that what I made today falls in the candy category. I used a candy thermometer, if that means anything!

A while back, I told Mom I wanted to make popcorn balls, and she made an awful face and said what a bad idea that was. Honestly, I was really surprised...she LOVES popcorn (we all do) so I just assumed that something made with popcorn would also be popular. Turns out, she didn't think the sweet of the candy coating stuff would be good with popcorn.

Well, you know what? Mom's not home. Yep...that's what I do when Mom's gone...go crazy and make yummy things. I asked Dave this morning if he thought he'd like popcorn balls, and he said "what's that?"

What a deprived, sheltered life we've had! :D I guess I'd never had them either, but I read the recipe, and I knew they'd be good. So I made them and they turned out delicious! Although, I'm still trying to decide if trying to get the candy coating off the pan and spoon is worth the balls themselves...

I started out by popping popcorn. Novel! I used butter and coconut oil this time, and I just heat the oils, then cover the bottom of the pan with popcorn kernels and pop away. I think I blogged about making popcorn a long time ago, so maybe I'll see about digging that up and reposting it, seeing that is related and relevent. (Oh, and I was playing with the settings on my camera and never did find a good one, apparently. I've read to use natural lighting instead of the flash, but that's hard to come by in our kitchen...unless I were cooking at 7am...which I was not.)

Ok, now that's done. I salted it like I would if we were just eating it straight. So, heavily. :)

Now I mixed 2 cups of sugar,

1 cup of white corn syrup,

and 1/2 cup of butter in a saucepan

 and brought it to a boil...

It's supposed to be hard crack stage, or 300* on the candy thermometer. When it gets to that point, remove it from the heat and add 1 tsp of vanilla...

As a side note, you think maybe I would get good candy if I measured a little more accurately??? LOL! I told Mom that's why I couldn't make soap...I've have a couple scoops of oil and a spoonful of lye and probably get blown to smithereens, or something scary like that. When Mom makes bread, she gets the scale out to weigh the dough, to make sure she has equal sections. "Gee...that wad looks like it needs another hunk," is more like my method!

Back on track...that vanilla...

Now I measured out 5 quarts of popped popcorn into this bowl and then drizzled the candy mixture over the top, while I was trying to sti. Trying to stir means I was scooping popcorn out of the bowl onto the counter and getting frustrated.

So, I got out my cheesemaking gloves and buttered them up, and dug in... (gloves because this stuff was just this side of 300*!)

And then it took a few minutes to get all of it mixed up...

I felt that some was sticking to the bottom of the bowl, so I got a spoon and tried to scrape it off.

I'd prepped some wax paper and I started grabbing handfuls of sticky popcorn, squishing it together, and putting them on the paper...aren't you just so glad I'm so eloquent? Where else can you read about squishing handfuls of popcorn together?

And there we have it...Popcorn Balls!

While this certainly doesn't make the healthiest snack ever, it is so good! The candy part did perfectly, and it's crunchy! It would be easier to eat these if the balls were maybe a little smaller. Right now it's like...hm...trying to eat a piece of brittle shaped like an apple. That's it! I think it would be good to spread it like you would brittle and have small pieces that way. There's not enough candy to completely coat all the popcorn, which is nice, so it wouldn't be like brittle, as far as it all being candy.

Make you some!

Printable recipe


  1. This looks good. I'll have to try it sometime.
    We're not much into corn syrup here; how do you think honey would be instead?

  2. Corn syrup's not a pantry staple around here, either. I think I bought this to try the brittle or something like that...it had been in the back of the cabinet for a very very long time! I've always been scared to try substitutions in candy stuff...I don't know enough about it.
    So, fine lot of help I am... :-/